“Did you know,” asks the Media Policy Center, “that today we have more parents to care for than children?” Eldercare has replaced childcare, the Center points out, as a leading healthcare issue.

Healthcare issues for elders comprise a vitally important aspect of our practice at Geyer & Associates. Today we focus on one of the most important decisions in elder care – the selection of caregivers.

“Most people who need help with their daily activities rely on unpaid care provided to them by family members and friends.  More and more, however, seniors and their families are recognizing the benefits of hiring caregivers, to help loved ones stay in their homes longer in comfort and safety, giving their families peace of mind,” Tennessee elder law attorney TimothyTakacs points out.

The best time to discuss care options with your parents is long before care is needed, cautions Bankrate.com.  At the very least, making sure there are durable health care proxy documents in place will allow medical and caregiving decisions to be made even if a parent is incapacitated.

The process of selecting a caregiver begins with assessing the types of care needed. Those might include household help, medical care, and personal care. Then comes the important interview process. Referrals might come from a doctor, hospital, or be based on word of mouth from people who have used that company. It’s important to meet and interview candidates, preferably in the home where care is to be provided, bankrate.com advises.

The Five Cs are five important characteristics you want to find in a caregiver , according to the SouthCarolina Department of Disabilities:

  • Competence
  • Caring
  • Compatibility
  • Cooperation
  • Communication

Care.com offers a very useful list of issues to be discussed when interviewing a caregiver:

Experience:  Have you ever cared for someone with these conditions – memory problems, wheelchair bound, diabetic –  before? If so, please elaborate.

Transportion:  Does the individual have a clean driving record and reliable transportation and insurance?  How far away do they live?

Scheduling flexibility: Do you have other jobs? Do you have responsibility for others whose schedules would be affected if you needed to stay later?  Could you work weekends? Are you able and willing to help find coverage for days you need to take off?

Caregiving certifications and training: Besides caregiving training, do you have CPR or first aid training?

Background check: Are you willing to submit to a background check?

The first two challenges facing children whose parents are in need of help include finding and hiring caregivers, then monitoring to be sure that the needed care is being provided, and in a kind, considerate way.

The third challenge is the high cost of long term care. With proper advanced planning, the attorneys at Geyer & Associates can help provide your loved one with proper care while helping your family avoid financial ruin.

– By Rebecca W. Geyer of Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates