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24 Jan 2022 Questions to Ask When Hiring At-Home Senior Care Service Provider / Senior Caregiver

When looking for a senior health care provider, your first step should be to determine the type of care your elderly loved one needs at home. While some seniors require nursing and medical assistance, the majority of the aging population primarily needs companionship and assistance with activities of daily life (ADLs), such as bathing, hygiene maintenance, dressing, meal preparation, and eating.


The second thing you should know is how frequently and for how long you will need the support of a Professional Senior Caregiver. It might range from a few hours every day to a couple of times a week to full-time care based on how extensive care the aging person requires.


Knowing the duration and the type of senior care needed will help you figure out the type of qualifications you should look for in a senior caregiver. In most cases, families look for at-home senior care services so that the elderly have a caring companion and can age gracefully and independently in the comfort of their homes.


You can easily find in-home senior care service providers by downloading the Senior Care Online app. After conducting interviews, when you feel like you have found some good candidates for your aging loved one, schedule a meeting to introduce them to your senior loved one to finalize the one that makes the perfect fit.


Now, you must be wondering, how do I interview a senior health care provider and find the applicants that seem potential fit? Let us help you figure out what to ask.


Begin with an Initial Face-to-Face Interview

When vetting Senior Caregivers, it is better to prefer conducting a face-to-face interview in person or online. Some of the common questions that you may ask when interviewing in-home senior caregivers are:


  • What type of training and certifications have you received related to senior caregiving?

  • How far from here [the elderly members location do you live?

  • Will you be using your vehicle or public transportation for commuting?

  • Do you have your vehicles insurance?

  • Do you have a drivers license? What is your driving history? Do you have any problem if I check your driving record with the DMV?

  • Is the U.S. your home country, or are you an expatriate? If the candidate is an expatriate, confirm whether they are legally allowed to work in the U.S.

  • Are you comfortable with both state and federal-level background checks? [Experts strongly recommend this question.]

  • Are you looking for a short-term or long-term caregiving role?

  • Do you smoke? Do you allow us to conduct random drug & alcohol testing?

  • Have you been fully vaccinated with approved Covid-19 vaccines? How do you maintain safety against Covid-19 and its variants?

  • How much vacation time will you need during your service term? Will you help find someone reliable to cover the days when you would not be available?

  • Are you comfortable with the hours and duration?

  • Can you commit to the time frame of 6-month [or the timeframe your aging loved one needs care]?

  • Are you willing to run the errands and drive the elderly to medical and non-medical appointments?

  • Are you comfortable working around pets? [Mention the pets you have in your home if any.]

  • Will you feel comfortable driving my senior members car if necessary? Or, will you use your vehicle to do the chores when requested?

  • Will you need reimbursement for the mileage expenses if your car is used?

  • Will you be available for respite care or extended care if I am unavailable or get delayed getting home?

  • Have you previously provided the type of care my loved one needs? If yes, please elaborate your experience with us.

  • What are your salary expectations?


After this round, you will have fewer applicants that largely match your expectations. Now, it is time to ensure the compatibility between your elderly loved one and the caregiver.


Finding Compatibility is the Key

Remember that when hiring an in-home senior care service provider, things are emotional on both sides. You are looking for a professional caregiver who will be living with your loved one for a significant time (or full time) in the house of your senior loved one and helping them through their vulnerable times. On the other hand, for a caregiver, the job can be rewarding, as well as emotionally taxing at the same time. Thus, compatibility is essential.


To see how compatible they might be with the senior loved one, you can ask the applicants about:

  • The past employers and reference checks

  • How their previous jobs of caregiving ended

  • Some of the most favorite and least favorite experiences during their past job roles

  • If they are quiet or talkative and what hobbies they have

  • If they are already working with a client (in case they are, ask about how they will coordinate both jobs and manage schedules)

  • Some difficult conditions they have faced with their previous employers and how they responded

  • If they have worked with seniors who have/had cognitive impairment or special dietary needs

  • If they are comfortable with the responsibilities you expect them to fulfill

  • How they handle a medical emergency

  • How they take care of themselves and handle the stress they are exposed to while giving care

  • How they respond to care refusal by the elderly (dementia patients often do this as they get disoriented with time and pace sometimes)

  • If they keep daily records and how they would like to interact with you and inform you

  • Responsibilities they have outside the job and if they need to account for them while working

  • If they are comfortable with your aging loved one having guests or friends stopped by

  • The services they charge additional fees for and how much they charge for them

  • When they will be able to start working for my elderly loved one


You can take things further by asking them scenario-based questions. Recall some events when your senior loved one acts differently and can be difficult to cope with or handle. Then, ask the applicant how they would respond in such scenarios.


If you find a caregiver to be incorrect at some point, try correcting them to see how they react to this. A caregiver needs to be compassionate. So, if the offense is their first reaction, it can be a problem especially when your senior family member has the habit of correcting people often.


Involve Your Elderly Loved One in the Final Phase

Once you find potential candidates, include the senior member who needs care/companionship in the final stage. Their feedback will make things easier for everyone and find the perfect at-home senior care service provider.