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Having an in-home caregiver can help everyone. Your loved one gets the aid they need, and you get some time to yourself. It lowers stress all around.

There are key steps you can take to make sure home care works well.

Find the Right Provider

There are many types of in-home care services:

  • Personal: Help with bathing, eating, dressing, toilet care, and grooming
  • Household: Help with things like cleaning, cooking, shopping, and laundry
  • Health: Skilled medical care like changing dressings, giving shots, and physical therapy
  • Companion: Offer chats, visits, and help with pastimes and activities

To find the right in-home service, think about your family member’s needs and your needs as a caregiver. Ask your loved one’s doctor for advice. You’ll need a doctor’s orders to use long-term care insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

Talk to your loved one about the type of care they need and the type of person they’d like to have in the house. It might be easier for them if the caregiver shares the same gender, background, and language, for example.

You can use an agency or check with friends for referrals. Ask for credentials, references, background checks, and training.

Share Information

Give the caregiver as much information as you can about your loved one. The more they know about their background, health issues, and routine, the better care they can give.

Give them notes about your loved one’s family members and friends and their personal history. It will make it easier when they talk and become familiar with each other.

Write down details about their daily routine, including when and what they like to eat, watch, or read if the caregiver is involved with day-to-day life. Leave notes on any favorite activities or hobbies that can make life better for everyone.

Stay Involved

It’s important for you to stay involved after you’ve hired a caregiver. Set expectations from the start. Be clear about when they should arrive, what they should do, and how and when they should contact you.

Create a written care plan that outlines everything you expect the caregiver to do. That makes things simple because everyone knows what’s expected. That also helps because if you ever have temporary help, the new caregiver will be able to follow the plan.

Don’t make it a one-way street. The caregiver will become closely involved with your loved one. Ask questions about their family and life, and learn about the caring person who has chosen to take care of the important person in your life.

Make Sure it’s a Good Fit

Your loved one will spend a lot of time with their caregiver. That’s why it’s important that they get along well. The helper might be qualified, but if they don’t get along with your loved one, think about finding someone new.

It can be a little like dating -- you might have to work to find the right fit. But this is a partnership. They need to enjoy each other’s company and have a good bond. That will make it easier and less stressful for everyone involved.

Show Sources

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Aging in Place: “All About Home Health Care Services.”

Family Caregiver Alliance: “Hiring In-Home Help,” “Working Successfully with Home Care Services.”

Alzheimer’s Association: “In-home Care,” “Personal Facts and Insights.” “What's home health care?”

AARP: “How Caregivers, Aides and Recipients Can Build Bonds,” “How to Hire a Caregiver.”