With caregiving in the new normal, regaining work-life balance among its ranks, it’s easy to find the right caregiver for our senior family member. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone’s lives. It altered many setups and reshaped many of our institutions, especially in the medical industry. The role of caregivers evolved dramatically. They had to overcome new challenges and respond to new demands. Many caregivers had to work extra hours extensively, and many suffered fatigue and mental health issues. It was hard for families with senior and ailing adults to find professional caregivers during the pandemic. Travel restrictions and other standard health protocols proved to be a burden for both caregivers and those seeking professional care. With caregiving in the new normal regaining work-life balance for many of our professional caregivers, caregivers are now healthier, mentally sound, and emotionally stable.

What are the things we look for in a caregiver? Where do we find the right caregivers for our loved ones?

We all have an idea of the attributes that make someone an excellent caregiver- compassionate, patient, kind, committed, etc. Trustworthiness is also vital because we are entrusting the safety and welfare of our loved ones to them. Attitude and character aside, credentials are the most important. It is one of the first things we must examine. Just like scrutinizing job applicants, we must also look into the caregiver’s job history, skillset, training certifications, and recommendations from past and present organizations they have worked with. Interviews also reveal a lot about a caregiver’s values, attitude towards work, outlook, and disposition. It is crucial to learn personal details about our caregivers before hiring them.

For home health services, caregivers must be proficient in providing for various needs of senior and sick patients confined at home. Caregivers should know Personal care and Companionship, Private Duty Nursing Care Services, and Home Health Care.

Personal Care and Companionship involve assisting patients with self-care (grooming, bathing, dressing, and using the toilet). They are also expected to assist with transport ad mobility, meals, and engaging in daily activities and hobbies. For patients with Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers are expected to monitor their assigned patients closely. Performing nursing services involve care for conditions such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, etc. Caregivers are also expected to know Ventilator care, Tracheostomy care, monitor vital signs, administer medications, feeding tube care, and Catheter Care. Caregivers, especially those in Home Health Care services, must also be skilled in short-term nursing services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and home health aide services.

There are many young and competent caregivers in the United States. According to Nicole Clagett, Director of Community Development and Caregiver Support at Duke Homecare and Hospice, the best place to look for qualified and competent caregivers is through an agency.

“I highly recommend using an agency because you’re really opening yourself up to a lot of issues when you’re finding an individual on your own. Plus, the agency takes care of things like taxes and background checks, and if the person is a no-show, there’s backup for someone else to be caring for your loved one. Also, I don’t think a lot of people consider the liability risk because there are a lot of injuries to people providing the care, especially back injuries.”

Local agencies can help, but national agencies and organizations like Senior Helpers, National Alliance for Caregiving, Community Resource Finder, Family Caregiving Alliance, Caregiver Action Network, and AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). The past two years have greatly improved the skills and attitude of caregivers, and now that we are moving into post-pandemic caregiving, we can expect resilient, resourceful, and sharp-minded caregivers who are definitely up to the task of taking care of our senior citizens and sick loved ones.