THE BLOG

How to Hire an Adult Caregiver

08/04/2014 10:13 am ET | Updated Oct 04, 2014

For individuals living with Alzheimer's disease, finding appropriate care can sometimes be a challenge. For many individuals, the best solution for these situations is to hire a professional caregiver. Fortunately for families and loved ones of those with Alzheimer's disease, there are many agencies that help pair those with Alzheimer's with the right person to assist with their everyday activities. However, many families are lost when it comes to finding and hiring the right adult caregiver. These individuals play an important role in the lives of Alzheimer's patients and, without their dedicated companionship, the lives of those living with dementia would be far less fulfilled. With this in mind, it is important to be aware of all of the aspects of hiring and working with an adult caregiver for any loved one with Alzheimer's disease.

The Prevalence of Adult Caregivers

Common caregiver duties include taking care of shopping, meal preparation, transportation and personal care. While many have been grateful for the benefits offered by these adult caregivers, what is most important to many is the relationships that develop between the patients and their caregivers. According to a study done by the Pew Research Center in 2012, approximately 36 percent of individuals in the United States are serving as adult caregivers of other adults. Approximately four in 10 adult Americans are taking care of a loved one with a serious health issue, such as Alzheimer's.

Types of Caregivers

There is no one "type" of caregiver. This is why it can be difficult to find the right caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer's and why it can also be difficult to act as a caregiver for one you love. While some would want to be their loved one's caregiver, this isn't always an option. Some individuals do not have the proximity to their loved ones, while others realize their loved ones have medical needs they cannot accommodate. While there is no one type of adult caregiver, there are several roles that these individuals tend to play. These roles include:

- Housekeeper and companion
- Personal care workers that keeps the home and assists with meals, driving, doctor's visits and more.
- Certified nursing assistants and home health providers that offer personal care with dressing, bathing and administering medications.
- Skilled care givers that assist with therapy, wound management and other medical needs.

These are some of the different levels of home care that can be provided, based on the needs of the individual.

Where to Find Adult Caregivers

As those in the baby boomer generation continue to age, there has been an increase in the number of adults who need caregiver assistance. While some choose to act as caregivers to their loved ones, others will choose someone else to provide care. Resources such as geriatric care managers as well as other private institutions offer resources for those looking to find adult caregivers.

Tips for Choosing the Right Caregiver

Unfortunately, one of the biggest issues with caregivers, particularly familial caregivers, is caregiver burnout. This is why before hiring an adult caregiver it is important to do research and check references. Caregivers that burn out and need to be replaced can only further confuse and frustrate ones with dementia. Unfortunately, many have found that the caregiver process is a revolving door and many times caregivers only last a few months in the position.

During the hiring process it is important that individuals looking to find an adult caregiver are upfront about the expected demands of the job and utilize a checklist to help in the initial hiring phase. It is also important to make arrangements for checkups and consultations with the caregiver, particularly in the early stages of the acquaintance process. While families can hire caregivers on their own through ads, job postings and sites like Craigslist, others may choose to hire a care manager. These individuals do charge a fee for their services, but they are typically better able to find an individual with a solid background to act as a caregiver for the loved one who needs assistance.

No matter what approach is used to find a caregiver, it is important to remember that many times this process involves trial and error, and it isn't always simple. It is, however, an important process that must be taken seriously if the right caregiver is to be found.