Home health aides and caregiving services are some of the fastest growing jobs in America. Families can choose from many options when looking for caregivers – including home health agencies, hiring independently or through staffing services and finding them through friends’ referrals. Regardless of the approach taken, it’s important for families to think about what type of personality and skills they are looking for in their caregiver, and the level of training that will be needed to meet their needs.
If you’re considering hiring a private caregiver directly, it’s important to carefully consider the candidate and interview them thoroughly. You should check references for previous employers and ask for their credentials and licensing. It’s also a good idea to verify that the person you hire is not someone who has been arrested or charged with a crime in the past.
Another option is to find a caregiver through a registry program offered by a local organization. Many local Area Agencies on Aging or senior service organizations offer a registry where they can refer you to pre-screened attendants. This can be helpful if you have limited funds to pay for a caregiver, or if your loved one qualifies for Medicaid and the program offers consumer-directed personal assistance (IHSS).
Hiring through an agency can provide some peace of mind because the agency is responsible for hiring and overseeing their own workers. However, this can also mean that you have less control over the caregiver’s behavior or abilities. If you decide to hire a home health aide through an agency, it’s important to communicate any concerns you might have about the worker. If you are hiring a caregiver through a registry, you should still be sure to interview them thoroughly and check their references.
Caregivers can be a wonderful resource for seniors, but they can also become overwhelmed with responsibility and isolation. Fortunately, NYC has several support groups and resources to help them cope with these issues. For example, SNAP, or Services Now for Adult Persons, offers a caregiver program featuring support groups, individual counseling and educational workshops. In addition, Willing Hearts, Helpful Hands, a volunteer respite program run by Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, serves caregivers in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties.
In addition to these resources, there are a number of apps available that can help with home care. For example, Lotsa Helping Hands allows family members to create a private group calendar where they can share respite hours with other family members and track tasks. Other tools can help with home safety, meal planning and medication management. Lastly, it’s also important for caregivers to take care of themselves. The stress and burden of caring for a loved one can take a toll on family relationships, and the National Caregivers Foundation provides free, confidential counseling. It’s also important to know your legal rights as a caregiver, and there are organizations that can help with legal issues and benefits. The Brooklyn Office for the Aging and the Legal Aid Society of New York offer free or low-cost legal help to older adults. find a caregiver near me