It is hard for older adults to have a stranger come into their homes and help with tasks that they have done on their own most of their lives. Yet, even a few hours of help from the right person can make all the difference in the world, easing their fears and stress and improving their functional independence and emotional life satisfaction.
- Ruth Friedman,
Founder and President

How to find the perfect caregiver

Finding that perfect caregiver can be a challenge in the best of times, much less during a period of stressful change and confronting new limitations.  Keeping the primary goal in mind at all times is essential:

To remain active and independent in your own home

It sounds simple, but as our bodies age it can become a very difficult task.  The best approach to finding a good caregiver is to focus on two separate goals:

1) Satisfying the basic needs.  
The skills of the caregiver must match the needs of the client at all times.  Suppose a client needs help in the morning with bathing, grooming, toileting, dressing, taking medications, making breakfast and some light cleaning and laundry.  The first priority is to insure that the client receives these physical services in a safe, efficient, professional and dependable manner.  Often referred to as Activities of Daily Living (ADL), this is the physical work that allows a client to remain independent in their own home.  At Care in the Home, our clinical case manager performs a full needs assessment before services begin and keeps a detailed care plan updated throughout the course of service.  

2) Finding the personality fit. 
Once the basic physical needs are met, the fine-tuning is in finding a caregiver that "clicks" with the client.  Meeting with the client and family before service begins helps our case manager get a sense of what personality traits in a caregiver would be the best fit with the personality of the client.  When a client and caregiver click, it is wonderful but it can take some trial and error before that fit is achieved and it may never be as perfect as we would like.  Much depends on timing and which caregivers are available when a client is searching.  Having patience and keeping an eye always on the primary goal of independence in the home is essential in this part of the process. 

In addition, it is important to realize that a search for a caregiver is actually a search for a team of caregivers because caregivers get sick, need vacation and must live their own complex and challenging lives like anyone else.  Experiencing good service from two, three or more caregivers can develop a trust for the team of caregivers that a company employs.  A client can then feel confident that any replacement sent will be competent and wonderful in their own way.  That might actually be the best kind of perfect.