News For Older Americans

Choosing The Right Caregiver For Your Parents


(NAPSI)—According to Pew Research, every day, 10,000 Americans turn 65 years old. And that will continue for the next 12 years, reaching 18 percent of the population by 2030. Americans 85 and older will triple in population by 2050.

With a rapidly aging population living longer than past generations, caregivers are in high demand. A cost of care study by Genworth forecasts that there will be a shortage of more than 3 million home care aides in the next decade. To meet this demand, over the years there has been an explosion of home care franchises and independent home care agencies across the country. Yet, as many families discover, finding the right caregiver to meet your family’s specific needs can be a challenge.

One innovator looking to solve the caregiver gap is a San Francisco−based company focused on modernizing and improving home care for older adults. By professionalizing its caregiver workforce and developing technology to improve efficiencies, it’s able to deliver more consistent and reliable care. Through its Honor Care Network, the company partners with home care agencies in multiple states, making quality care more accessible to more families.

Called Honor, the firm suggests five things that families should consider when hiring a caregiver to ensure a safe and optimal care experience for their parents or loved ones:

Important Questions to Ask

Your Home Care Agency

1. How do you screen your caregivers for safety? A responsible, credible home care agency in California always conducts a thorough screening and background check of its caregivers before sending them into a client’s home. In addition to Home Care Aide (HCA) mandated certification and Department of Justice fingerprinting and background checks, the best home care agencies go further by screening for DMV driving records, drug testing, and abiding by strict minimum-age requirements.

2. How do you train your caregivers and verify their skills? Caregivers should have a solid foundation of training, such as how to use mechanical lifting equipment, basic knowledge of how to support clients living with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, and how to assist with daily living activities such as bathing, grooming and hygiene. Ask if the caregivers are tested on scenario-based skills and if any personality tests are conducted to check for temperament under stress or condition-related situations, such as “sundowning.”

3. What is your performance record for on-time arrivals and no-shows? How promptly do you communicate schedule changes to your clients? Ask the agency how it manages late arrivals and last-minute cancellations by caregivers. Does it guarantee a replacement? How does it communicate with clients and how often? What is its policy if there’s an ongoing tardiness issue?

4. How do you manage caregiver performance? Ask how the agency motivates caregivers to provide the best care and client experience. Does it value and know its caregivers’ track record and does it continually train caregivers to ensure it has the best talent? Assessing personality and chemistry with clients is also important.

5. How do your caregivers communicate with each other about a client’s condition during shift changes? Your parent will likely have more than one caregiver to staff weekly schedules. Ask the agency how each caregiver is notified of a client’s daily condition, how that information is communicated to other assigned caregivers to ensure seamless care, and how families are notified, how often and when.

Finding the right caregiver can be less stressful if you know the right questions to ask. Initiating a conversation at the start about what’s most important to you in finding the right caregiver can make all the difference.

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Note to Editors: Although this article can be useful to anyone, it may be of particular interest to people who live in or near California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.