If hiring a senior caregiver on your own, use the following interview questions to narrow down the candidates. First, screen your applicants over the phone, then meet in person (this should be a public meeting place). If thins feel like a good fit, you will want to introduce the potential provider to your parent or elderly relative.
- Do you have a driver’s license and clean driving record? Do you have reliable transportation and insurance? How far from here do you live?
- What are your responsibilities outside of work? Do you have to account for the schedules or needs of others in your working day or week, or are you flexible?
- Will you be working on other jobs that might be affected if I’m delayed getting back? Would you be available for respite care, or to stay over for a long weekend?
- Do you smoke? (Many people say they don’t smoke but they do –offer an outside smoking area and insist it be used).
- What certification or training do you have, if any? Do you have any First-Aid training? If I pay for it, would you be willing to add it to your skills?
- Here is a list of expected care-related duties –is there anything on the list that poses a problem or concern? Are you comfortable with pets? Are you comfortable with my (parent/spouse) having guests or other family members stopping by?
- Are you able to work the hours needed? When are you available to start working? After a trial period, would you be willing to commit to (fill in a time frame –6 months to a year is common)?
- Have you ever cared for someone with (conditions relatable to your loved one’s care: memory problems, elderly, wheelchair bound, etc.) before? If so, please elaborate.
- Are you willing to sign a contract stating that you will not accept money or gifts from my (parent/grandparent/spouse, etc.) without clearing it with me?
- Are you willing to sign that you will not have guests come into our home or our elderly relative’s home unless I have given prior approval?
- Will you be comfortable driving my parent’s car if need be, or using your own car to run errands if we request it?
- What are your expectations for holiday time, and are you willing to help find coverage for the days that you need to take off? (A good compromise is for the carer to choose when to take 50% of their holiday allocation and for the employer to choose the other 50%. Always make sure that you are fulfilling your contractual obligations as an employer in terms of holiday.
Ask the prospective caregiver how they would handle various care issues that might arise and are similar to your situation.
- How would you handle it if my mother wakes up and doesn’t want to get dressed or eat her breakfast-but she has a doctor’s appointment later that morning?
- If my father is running a fever and is acting lethargic and you think there’s blood in his urine, what would you do? If I’m not at home and can’t be reached, what would you do then?
- My aunt falls, seems confused, doesn’t recognize you and won’t let you help her. She’s combative, what do you do?
- Finally, set up a time for the prospective carer to meet with your elderly relative to ensure that they both feel comfortable with one another and that their personalities will fit well together.
Once you have hired someone and have all of the documentation and paperwork dealt with, be sure that you make a plan for the first week to ensure a smooth transition.