For both you and your loved one, it may be tempting to welcome a hired caregiver into your personal lives. But by establishing precautions and rules, you’ll lay the groundwork for a successful relationship and minimize common risks.

Take Precautions

Valuables, checkbooks, cash, jewelry, or credit cards should be kept in a secure spot. You and your loved one should never lend money or a car to the caregiver, or add the caregiver’s name to a bank account, credit card, or any financial document. Get receipts for shopping. Keep an eye on telephone usage, food items, and medications. While a caregiver may become a valued companion over time, you and your loved one should stay out of the caregiver’s personal life.

Be Clear About Responsibilities

To specify the services your loved one needs, use the Care Recipient’s Needs List. Next, fill out the Caregiver Job Description to list in detail the tasks you expect and how often they should be performed. Understand that “light housekeeping” means washing dishes, doing laundry, changing linens, and cleaning and maintenance of living areas. Don’t expect a caregiver to wash windows, shampoo carpets, clean up after pets, or move furniture.

Provide Feedback

Praise and recognition are powerful motivators. Be sure to let the caregiver know in specific terms how much their efforts mean to you. One example might be, “I appreciate your making the extra effort to find Dad’s favorite jacket instead of dressing him in something he doesn’t like as much. Thank you.”

Once the caregiver begins working in the home, it’s important to let the agency know your level of satisfaction. Is the caregiver punctual and reliable? Does the worker provide care according to the plan? Does the caregiver have the skills, ability, and physical strength to perform the tasks assigned? Is the worker respectful?

Address Problems

When the caregiver’s performance doesn’t meet your expectations, address the issue immediately. Provide positive feedback along with any criticism. For example, you might say, “I’m very happy with how clean the kitchen is, but next time the trashcan should be emptied, too.”

If a serious problem arises, or you don’t see improvement after speaking with the caregiver, contact the worker’s supervisor or the appropriate person at the agency. In cases of abuse, fraud, or theft, contact the police immediately.

More Guidance

Get more guidance about working with a paid caregiver. For additional information about finding caregiving help, call John Muir Health Senior Services at (925) 947-3300.

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