How to Choose the Right Caregiver

As you get older, you find yourself facing more challenges every single day. The things that used to come easy are much more difficult and even the most independent of us end up needing help at some point. Here’s what you need to know about how to choose the right caregiver or senior support service.

The Importance of Finding the Right Caregiver

As a senior, you already have enough challenges to deal with, and a poor caregiver can heighten these challenges rather than lessen them. Don’t be deterred if it takes a while to find the right one. You will have to go through the process of trial and error to find the best caregiver for you.

Folks who find the perfect caregiver gain more than just a helper, they gain a companion whose conversation they can enjoy. Don’t think of it begrudgingly as something that you have to do. Think of finding a caregiver as something you want to do to stay more independent. If your sons or daughters have been pressuring you to move into a facility, ease their worries by taking on a caregiver who can help you retain your independence.

Do You Really Need a Caregiver?

For those of you who are accustomed to living independently, you might be hesitant to take on a caregiver. When making the decision you should consider all of the things that a caregiver can do.

Caregivers can do the errands that are more difficult to do now, like getting groceries. They can also be instrumental in helping with meal preparation, transportation and personal care. Taking on a caregiver doesn’t mean that you have to give up your independence. In fact, having a caregiver can actually help you retain more of your independence.

If you have ongoing health issues, you might want to consider seeking out a caregiver with more advanced medical training. There are different kinds of caregivers with different skill sets. Some have more people skills than medical skills and make enjoyable companions as well as helpers.

Choosing a Caregiver

Professional caregivers can provide a range of services, and you may not need help in all of these areas. It is important to select a caregiver that can provide support where you need it most. These professionals can serve in a number of roles, ranging from a simple companion to help around the house to a certified home health provider to aid in daily activities to a skilled homecare professional who can care for serious medical needs.

Often the best place to start when looking for a caregiver is your primary care provider. They can refer you to a geriatric resource center, geriatrician or homecare service, as appropriate. They may even be able to assist you in finding a service that is covered by your insurance.

Once you begin interviewing candidates, it’s important to start with a list of questions that you’ll ask each caregiver. You want to look for someone whose personality is a good match with your own, but you’ll also want to ask for references and do some additional background research before committing to anyone. If this all sounds a bit daunting, you can hire a geriatric care manager to do the legwork and find you a caregiver that will meet your needs.

Using a Medical Alert System with a Caregiver

When you’re in need of help, calling 9-1-1 is always a safe bet as they can dispatch first responders to you for immediate assistance. However, sometimes all you need is a friend or family member to help you out of a jam. With a Medical Alert system, you can summon the help you need with the push of a button. The emergency response operator will assess your situation and send help, such a first responder, family member or, possibly, a caregiver, as appropriate.

There are a variety of Medical Alert devices including necklaces. Whichever style you choose, you will have the confidence of knowing that if you have a medical emergency, all you have to do is push that button and help will be on the way. Most folks keep their Medical Alert device on their person at all times.

Ask your caregiver if you can list them or their agency as an emergency contact for your Medical Alert system.

Support for Caregivers

If you yourself are caring for a loved one, you may need help of a different kind. Caregiver support groups can provide a welcome outlet for the challenges of providing daily care to a loved one.

When it comes to choosing a caregiver support group it pays to be selective. To find the best groups you’ll have to know where to look. You can find good caregivers in hospitals or senior care facilities.

Generally, you should try a caregiver support group at least twice. If the first time doesn’t appeal to you try it at least one more time before making the decision to find another group.

Now is a great time to try out online caregiver support groups. The COVID-19 pandemic has inhibited in-person meetings across the world. Finding an online caregiver support group might just be your best bet right now, and who knows, you might like it more anyway!