Things to consider before hiring a live-in caregiver

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Hiring a Live-in Caregiver
The care needs for seniors may become more complex with age, while their families juggle jobs, commitments and care for their own children. The families may decide on hiring a live-in caregiver for respite. However, hiring a live-in caregiver can be challenging. Here are a few tips on what to do.

With time, it can become difficult for families to care for their loved ones. The care needs for seniors may become more complex with age, while their family caregivers juggle jobs, commitments and care for their children. Even when they do try, families may feel that their loved ones may be looked after better in elderly care homes.

However, many seniors prefer to stay in their own homes. Care homes can become expensive as care needs increase. The seniors have to give up their independence and familiar surroundings, and there is no personalized care as care homes need to assign a single caregiver to multiple seniors to make their business feasible.

In-home care is a better and increasingly popular alternative for seniors who prefer to age in their own homes. Families who need just a few hours of respite per week may prefer to choose an hourly care agency.

However, these agencies cannot guarantee the same caregiver every time, and at an average industry rate of $35 per hour, they can become very expensive if a loved one needs full-time care. For those families, live-in care via hiring a live-in caregiver can be a better and more affordable alternative.

We discussed the benefits of live-in care in a previous post. In this post, we discuss the considerations that need to be taken into account when choosing and hiring a live-in caregiver.

The importance of a thorough due diligence

Choosing and hiring a live-in caregiver is a critical decision. Live-in caregivers are responsible for the health and safety of your loved ones. They spend significant time with the seniors under the same roof, helping with bathing, grooming, eating, medication, mobility, medical and social appointments, exercising and many other activities of daily living. Over time they will befriend the senior and almost become a part of the family.

Live-in caregivers whose profiles do not match the families’ needs, and who do not recognize and respect the boundaries of their roles can create significant problems.

Mismatched live-in caregivers may have different values so the elderly may be uncomfortable with them. They may not have the right training and experience for the needs and conditions of your loved ones. Some may not have the right personality for caregiving even though they have chosen this profession. Families who choose to hire a live-in caregiver must do thorough due diligence before selecting a caregiver. 

Here are a few tips on how to go about doing so:

1. Understand your loved one’s home care needs. 

Just thinking of hiring a live-in caregiver is not enough, the decision needs to be justified based on the care needs of your loved one. Start by making a list of the types and levels of care needed. What daily tasks does the loved one need help with? Do they need toileting, dressing and bathing assistance? Are they prone to any illness that has special needs? Can they fall due to poor vision? Do they need assistance with getting to appointments? Does the loved one require someone to do housekeeping chores for them?

Once you have listed the care requirements, it will give you a better understanding of the skills and experience required from a live-in caregiver. It may make sense to make a complete care plan for your loved one before starting a caregiver search as it will set clear expectations for the caregiver you hire, and even help any agencies you engage to help with hiring a caregiver.

2. Involve all family members in the decision. 

All family members involved in the care of a senior need to contribute to the decision of hiring a live-in caregiver. Each person involved will have questions and needs. It may be possible for family members to share some of the burden of care with the caregiver. 

For example, one family member can come by on the weekends to clean or provide backup if the caregiver does not work on the weekends, while another can drive to medical appointments. That can help reduce the cost of a caregiver.

3. Properly screen and interview the caregivers. 

If you decide to hire a caregiver directly, make sure that you properly vet them. You need to get a vulnerability sector check done to make sure there is no criminal record or history of abuse. Validate that the caregiver has the right credentials e.g. a PSW certificate. Get at least two professional references. During the interview, not only ask about their skills and experience but also how they will deal with difficult situations both with the loved one and the family members. Test them to make sure that they can be trusted with the confidential information of your loved one. Set clear expectations around daily tasks, the days and hours the caregiver will be working for, if night care is needed, how would they communicate with the family members and when and how often they will want to take a leave. Do not be shy to ask tough questions during the interview and do not leave anything to guessing.

If you hire a good professional agency, they can take care of matching, screening and vetting the caregivers for you, so you will only need to focus on making sure that the senior feels safe and comfortable with the caregiver.

4. Get the opinion of the loved one.

It is also important to ask the care recipient if they even want a live-in caregiver. Their opinion matters as they have to spend all their time with the caregiver. The live-in care provider will be living in their home and will be spending most of the days (and nights) with them. . If possible have the care recipient be present during the caregiver interviews to see if the caregivers and the loved one are comfortable with each other.

5. Do what you feel is right.

Not every decision is a hundred percent foolproof. You may struggle to choose between a care home, an hourly agency or private live-in care. Each can have different trade-offs and financial implications. The best thing for the family member is to do thorough due diligence for each option but then follow their gut. They know their loved ones the best and know what they are likely to prefer in terms of their care.

How can we help?

Choosing a caregiver can be an arduous process. ConsidraCare is committed to making live-in care accessible and affordable for families across Canada and taking over most of the burden of choosing and managing caregivers for them. Please reach out to us at, or call us at 1-855-410-7971 and we will be happy to help you with the care needs of your loved ones.


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