How to Hire a Caregiver if you are a Member of the “Sandwich” Generation
Guest Post By Max Gottlieb
Within the last decade, the average age of first-time American parents has been steadily increasing. For some new moms and dads, this means that they are just learning the ropes of parenting while simultaneously being thrust into the role of caregiver for their elderly parents. If your parents are still healthy and independent then this nickname does not apply. But if you are taking care of both your parents and children, you’ve been nicknamed the sandwich generation because you’re sandwiched between taking care of your children and your parents. Although it may feel like a new parent/caregiver has nowhere to turn, there are luckily professional caregivers available.
Understandably, not every new parent can provide caregiving services themselves. Whether this is due to job restrictions or new family obligations, seeking professional home care services is an important journey that many families take when they need extra help with daily needs. Rather than moving into assisted living or a residential care home, hiring a caregiver allows seniors the ability to remain in the comfort of their own homes.
There are two different ways to go about hiring a caregiver. The first is hiring a private caregiver. This could be someone you know or it could be a response to an advertisement you’ve posted online, at the local grocery store, or anywhere else. Sometimes people hire private caregivers because the rate of pay is more competitive and people feel they are able to recognize the qualities of a good caregiver well enough on their own.
The other way to hire a caregiver, and the safer way, in my opinion, is to use a professional agency. What seniors and their families may not know is that an agency does many things behind the scenes to ensure that they are hiring the correct person for their customer’s home care. Not only is it an agency’s sole job to hire caregivers, but also if you go with a reputable agency, they’ve been doing it well for years. Agencies are experts in weeding out the people we would not want coming into our household.
There are quite a few benefits to using a home care agency. One benefit, in particular, is the ability to pre-screen their employees by conducting extensive background checks and references from previous employers. Pre-screening caregivers will give you peace of mind when you put your loved one’s care in the hands of another.
Another negative aspect of using a private caregiver over an agency-supplied caregiver is the possibility of scheduling conflicts. It can become extremely stressful if a private caregiver is unable to show up on the job. Conflicts in schedules can occur for any reason: sickness, family emergencies, transportation troubles, etc. With no caregiver, you or your family may need to fill in last minute, which could get in the way of work, school, or any other routine you have. With an agency, they will be able to find a replacement caregiver to cover. Usually, caregivers work in teams with rotating shifts anyway so your loved one will be comfortable with both people. Generally, people do not hire caregivers to be there around the clock, so a personal medical alert is a good idea for when your parents are home without anyone there.
Beyond the security of knowing a caregiver will always be available, you will also be protected by state and federal policies regarding hiring, training, and employee supervision. Choosing a regulated and licensed home care agency is a surer way of avoiding elder abuse as well as financial manipulation. An agency will be able to supervise their employees on a firmer level. Agencies are required by law to provide constant management for their employees and the people they care for.
On a final note, agencies will be able to help you deal with insurance companies or Medicaid waivers along with setting up a payment plan that works for you. They will also help determine the exact needs of your loved one and decide what kind of care is most fitting. Agencies will be able to assist you in finding the perfect solution that will fit your family.
More About the Author
Max Gottlieb is the content manager for ALTCS and Senior Planning. Both organizations work in tandem to provide free assistance to the elderly and their families when it comes to finding care options, benefits, or senior housing.
*Photos courtesy of Max Gottlieb