Figuring out how to bring a caregiver into your life, even for a few hours per day, can feel like a daunting task. Wondering where the money will come from to pay for a caregiver can create a lot of stress, on top of wrapping your head around how you will ever find a way to trust them with your child.
On the flip side, once you’ve come to terms that you can’t do it all yourself, no matter how Herculean you think you are, and you realize that handing off caregiving responsibilities can actually improve your health, you will start to see past all those barriers.
The key here, though, is to find the right person. And that’s not always easy. Whether you try hiring a caregiver yourself or rely on an agency to handle this, there are some really important questions you need to ask before you bring them into your home. It doesn’t matter if this is your first hire or not. These questions still apply.
From the outset, you want to make sure the person is in a caregiver role for the right reasons, and that they are motivated by the right things. If you are using an agency to help with finding a candidate, this may seem like an awkward question since they are already in the “caregiving industry”. Nevertheless, you want to get some understanding of why they want to help support your child. If they’re not sure why, you might want to keep looking.
Ok, so I know that’s not really a question but making a statement that is open-ended can help uncover if what they’ve done in the past is appropriate or useful. As an alternative, you could ask them to describe what a typical “caregiving day” looks like.
If they have only ever supported elderly clients, then those skills may not be easily transferable to your 5- year old with autism. Similarly, if your child’s care is complex, you will want to get a sense of how much training you’re going to have to provide so they can get good at it.
Of course, you would NEVER ask this question (even though it’s not really a question). You can’t directly ask your candidate if they’re married or live alone or have children. But it’s important to get a picture of their home life to make sure you’re not bringing any drama in your home.
What you’re really trying to uncover is if they have any constraints that might interfere with caring for your child. For example, if you talk about some hypothetical situations where you may need them on short notice, you can get a glimpse of how easy or difficult that might be and what’s behind their answer.
If the candidate shares their personal information too freely, that can be a red flag and may indicate that they have a problem keeping things confidential.
In a nutshell, the right person is someone who wants to make your child’s life great every day, who is skilled at adapting to a variety of situations, and who is not distracted by too much happening in their personal life.
Motivated. Adaptable. Focused.
Hiring someone who scores high on all three will bring balance, energy, and freedom into your life.
By the way, if you’re curious about how to trust a caregiver, read our post here about just that.
-- Mike --