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How to pick a respite caregiver
Debbie 1951
Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012 12:38 PM
Joined: 1/1/2012
Posts: 138

How do you decide the caregiver they send you for the first time is the right one. I just need a sitter to make sure she does not fall. She gets her own lunch, I do have everything out for her for breakfast. She dresser her self, makes the bed, gets a snack when she wants,, and sometimes gets herself confused when & where she must go. I just tell her I keep her warm and safe, and she can do whatever she wants. She has her morning routines, make bed get dressed eat read the paper. Sometimes it can take her until lunch to do that and some days just an hour. I just let her do her thing at her own pace.
Stephanie Z
Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012 1:22 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4217

You should meet the person ahead of time and have a talk about the things your mom can and can't do. Outline the responsibilities you expect her to assume and then plan to be there for a few hours on her first day if possible. That should tell you if the fit is good.


Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012 2:03 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 740

Hi, Debbie. 

Also ... I copied one of Johanna C's posts on this subject.  (Thank heavens I didn't just write down the URL, sigh).  It follows:

Each agency office can be different from another. HomeInstead is a franchise operation, so each office is independently owned. Quite a few multiple office agencies are indeed franchises. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that one good franchisee may be much better than another within their operations.

When looking at agencies for my mother, I did not wish to use agencies where the aides were simply independent subcontractors. I always used agencies where the aides were actual employees of the agency rather than independents.

The agencies with employees tend to run a tighter ship; their personal risks are greater. Ask about their Quality Improvement mechanism and ask for a history of each aide being provided. Ask if there have been any complaints against the aide and what were they and if the aide was on time for her shifts and how many unplanned "absent" days she has had over the past year.

Also ask if there has been any disciplinary necessity for the aide including verbal counselings and what were they regarding.

I also only took aides that had a minimum of two years experience caring for patients NOT in their own family. I also wanted aides that had at least a one year history with the agency so they had a "track record" of the aides quality complliance and behaviors.

Ask if they have ongoing education for their aides and how much training if any is given regarding dementia clients.

It is important right from the beginning that the aide have high standards set for them with our loved ones and that we remember that the aides are employees NOT friends.

Sometimes, when starting out early as being overly friendly and trying to be "chummy" may give an aide the feeling standards are low and they often work to the level they "feel" is being asked of them. It is true that many people work to the level they perceive is being set.

I found that treating aides with respect but by having consistent standards and being professional in my approach gave the better results overall.

I also personally interviewed the aide before hiring. This was a good thing and kept me making better choices so one can see how good a fit it is likely to be. I usually gave the aide $20 for coming to the house to be interviewed.

I also put care items and patient likes/dislikes, schedules, history, important phone numbers, etc. in writing. I also had a list of issues for the aides such as, "No smoking, even outside; no personal friends even on the porch; etc." I gave the aide a copy of these and had the aide sign a paper stating she had received the documents. I provided the documents to the agency also.

When interviewing a potential aide and went over the items so the aide could feel whether she felt she was a good fit for the job. The aide could then also let me know what was important to her.

After hiring, as the months moved on, I could be a bit more personal, BUT; I learned the hard way never, ever to try to be best friends - it creates too many issues and problems.

After the aide had been observed for some weeks and I felt it was working well, I let the aide know that if she ever needed to take a day or a few days break, that she arrange the dates with me IN ADVANCE of her plans so I could arrange coverage. However, I did let the aide know that this must be an exception rather than a standard request.

It is good to keep a private aide book where you track any issues with arriving late for shift, behavioral issues and if the aide calls in for unplanned absences as well as any other issues including really positive observations.

Our aides also have to have an annual flu shot to protect our loved one a bit better and if this is not provided by the agency or if the aide must pay for it privately, I reimburse them, but they must have the receipt with their name typed on it.

Getting a good aide is one thing; keeping them is another. I strove to keep a good environment with a decently neat house, clean bathroom, providing a fully stocked cupboard/refrigerator; in short, I tried to keep the work environment as positive as possible.

We have an aide for step-dad that is beyond wonderful. I have never seen the likes of it and wish I could clone her for everyone. She has now been with us for several years and we adore her. We give small gifts every now and then, give her a birthday gift (usually a gift certificate to a restaurant), and give a nice bonus at Christmas. We have been blessed to have this person in our lives and I have absolutely no doubt that step-dad would never be at the good quality of life he is without her.

This marvelous aide also knows a lot of other aides. Her personal standards are very high and she has recommended other aides for the weekend she knew were good at what they did and this has helped the care team tremendously.

I"ve had a few really bad situations and it is a lot of work getting it all together; but once it is, it is such a feeling of peace.


(You can see why I didn't want to try answering you on "Solutions".  LOL)


This post has been edited by the ALZConnected Moderator on February 9th, 2012. 


Debbie 1951
Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012 6:16 PM
Joined: 1/1/2012
Posts: 138

Thank you so much. The information you offered is very helpful. Thanks again.
Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012 11:41 PM
Joined: 12/21/2011
Posts: 2431

I would pay a lot of attention to how alert the person is, and whether or not she or he is ''electronically connected'' thereby being a possible distraction.


i remember that from a post from the old board, a long time ago.


If they have a lot of electronic gadgets with them, I'd make my wishes clear, or look for someone else.



Posted: Sunday, January 15, 2012 6:54 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 181

same problem here. My mom does what she wants but stays home. She gets very confused if taken out as we did yesterday to visit a relative. I tried an agency but didn't follow through with it. Wanted experience (years) and not someone just looking for a job. One agency said only 6 mos exp as a cna. Do not want my mom to be a guenia pig either so rather get somone who really cares and knows the disease.      Going through friends and word of mouth for now. I was bothered by one agency that I could not meet the caregiver ahead of time. They said we get the caregiver!! So stuff like that made me think twice. I'm still looking and trying as I'm in this alone and need help. Find agency fees to high. Plus they want deposits etc etc. But it all comes down to what one can afford and follow your gut! Its so hard!

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