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Whether you’re organizing family members and friends to help with caregiving or you’re hiring caregivers, these tips will help.

Organizing help

To organize family members, neighbors and friends, try Lotsahelpinghands and sharethecare.

Hiring caregivers to help

If you supplement this by hiring people, interview many candidates. Consider having two people interview the candidates together, first outside the home, and discuss their impressions. Prepare a detailed list of what you need, including meal prep and operating suction equipment, feeding tubes or a lift if applicable. Make sure to ask each person about each item. Also prepare a list of what would make a good fit. Tell the people you are interviewing about your Lotsahelpinghands or sharethecare group – and that they should not rely on volunteers substituting for the care they are being hired to provide.

To double check skills, ask for copies of credentials and check state licensing.

Ask for references, and use them. In addition to being credentialed, does the person use the right skills? Have they cared for someone with the same challenges before? Do they seem flexible? Patient? Are they in good health? What other responsibilities do they have? For example, do they have children whose baby sitter may not show up? Do they have reliable transportation? How long have they worked in this area? Been employed by this agency? Do they smoke?

Can they communicate easily with the person to be cared for? Does that person think that they would be a good fit? If there are cats or dogs, is the prospective caregiver comfortable with them?

After you have selected which candidates should also be interviewed by the person receiving care, observe their interaction.

At both stages, encourage them to ask questions. You may learn more from the questions they ask than from their answers to your questions.

 

Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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