Picking the person or people who will help you or your senior loved one on a regular basis can be a daunting task. Beyond verifying that this new individual is qualified for the job, finding the right fit for each senior’s needs and temperament makes such a difference.
Here at Daystar Retirement Village in West Seattle, WA, we know a lot about the things that seniors might need from a caregiver and about how best to find the people to meet those needs. There are so many different kinds of people that work well with seniors, and we’ve met a lot of them! We know what difference care, thoughtfulness, and attention to detail make when finding the right fit for a senior caregiver.
What Does a Senior Caregiver Do?
Senior caregivers provide a range of tasks starting from a few hours a week all the way to a live-in job. Since this is such a broad range, we recommend you start by making a list of areas where a caregiver could be useful. Examine your budget, the hours needed, and the tasks involved in order to determine what kind of help you will need. Caregiver tasks could include the following:
- Meal preparation
- Light housecleaning
- Medication management
- Help with appointment keeping/scheduling
- Personal care assistance
- Supporting exercise
- Moving and carrying heavy items
What Makes a Good Senior Caregiver?
Finding the right caregiver, or team of caregivers is about finding the right match. Some skills, however, are universally necessary. Understanding what is needed in your unique situation helps to ensure that you find the best-suited candidate.
Basic Skills Required - Temperament characteristics such as---kindness, patience, organization, time management skills are needed. Basic reading and math are also often required. Physical ability to assist your senior with personal care or move objects your senior cannot, may also be needed.
Skillsets and Certifications -These will be more or less important, depending on the medical needs of the person in need of assistance. Common certifications like Home Health Aide (HHA) and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) indicate extra training related to health care needs and a commitment to this kind of work. No matter what medical needs are currently present, current first-aid certification is also useful and relatively easy to obtain. A driver’s license may also be needed, depending on the senior’s transportation needs.
Match in Temperament -The match between caregiver and senior is a completely personal thing. Is your senior introverted? Would a chatty caretaker drive them batty? Are they extroverted and need a conversation partner? Are you looking for a walking buddy or a chauffeur? Do they need a caretaker with an iron backbone or an iron stomach? Do they have a common hobby like knitting or cars? These considerations absolutely make a difference and can separate candidates that otherwise look very similar on paper.
Interview Questions to Ask Your Senior’s Caregiver
When it’s time to sit down and interview candidates, consider printing your questions and taking notes while you talk. Jot down your impressions as well as their answers, especially if you are interviewing several candidates. Pay attention to how you feel. Taking notes to remind you of your in-the-moment thoughts can help if interviews start to blur together. Here are some of our favorite interview questions for senior caregivers:
- What certifications do you have? Would you be willing to become CPR or first-aid certified?
- What is your past experience as a caregiver?
- What qualities do you have that make you a good fit for this job?
- Tell me about your experience working with people with (Alzheimer’s, dementia, wheelchairs, or whatever specific need.)
- How do you like to be encouraged?
- How do you like to be approached if negative feedback is needed?
- What made you interested in being a caregiver?
- What are your favorite activities to do with your clients?
- What is the hardest part of this job (Or what do you imagine the hardest part might be?)
- What is your availability?
- How many hours are you interested in working?
- What is your preferred method of communication?
- Can we contact your references?
Hypothetical or situational questions can also be helpful in gaining an overall idea of your candidate’s perspective on behavior management, and general attitude in the face of likely challenges. Try questions that are relevant to your specific situation, such as, “How would you handle a client who avoided taking medication?” or “How would you handle a client who removed her hearing aids?” This is also an opportunity to help your possible candidate to engage in conversations about the specifics of your situation so that you can find out more about them and they can find out more about the position.
Providing Quality Support for Seniors in West Seattle
Here at Daystar Retirement, we are committed to meeting our resident’s needs with quality care and attention! Contact us to learn more about our senior apartments, independent living, assisted living, and respite care options and availability, or set up a tour today!