Finding a caregiver is an important decision for family members and can be difficult to do. There are different ways to find a caregiver, depending on your needs. Some people hire private caregivers through personal referrals and others use services or agencies to find them. When choosing a caregiver, be sure to check for credentials, experience and references. In addition, consider other factors such as a caregiver’s language skills and availability of specialized care.

If you decide to use an agency, the process is often simplified as the agency will screen and interview candidates. They may also have financial advisors or social workers who can advise you on your best options for paying for care. In the case of independent hires, there are also several possible avenues for payment including long term insurance policies, traditional health insurance or state and federal programs such as Medicare & Medicaid.

Whether you are seeking a caregiver for yourself or a loved one, it is important to communicate clearly about your needs. List the specific duties, schedule, home privileges and other important considerations. Include any specific preferences or “bug bears” so the caregiver is prepared for what to expect. For example, does your loved one like to take walks in the morning or get upset by certain smells?

Many communities have options for low cost or free in-home caregivers through a program referred to as IHSS. The local Area Agency on Aging can usually direct you to the registry for your community and provide you with prescreened caregivers who are paid through government funds. Faith communities and senior service agencies are other possible sources of information about local programs.

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