Choosing a Home Care Worker

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home healthcare workerAre you trying to persuade your aging parent or loved one to get some help at home? Is he or she resisting your efforts? Don’t give up. The persuasion of aging parents or an older person to accept help is a process. Here are some approaches and tips that can help.

First, be honest. Let Mom or Aunt Mary know that you are worried because you noticed some particular difficulty. Perhaps it’s with bathing. This must be approached respectfully and diplomatically. You might say that you noticed the arthritis is making it hard for her to reach things.


Unfortunately, many people are in crisis when they finally start looking for a home care worker. If you are a responsible relative, it is not smart to wait until your loved one falls at home, gets hospitalized, or you get a frantic call from a neighbor about your loved one. With some guidelines in mind, you can do the best job possible of finding a homecare worker and prevent the disasters that come from lack of planning. Take some basic steps before making a decision about which worker to hire.

Do your research. A background check is essential. This can be done through an internet based company, or in your local area. Public records are available on the internet throughout the U.S. via search companies, which subscribe to services which conduct the search. The cost varies with how extensive the search is, and whether it is just your state or nationwide. Search for criminal charges or convictions, and for civil suits in which a prospective worker was involved. Do a credit check. Remember that desperation for money can lead to financial elder abuse. If you use a reputable agency to find a worker for you, they will perform the background check on the worker. We recommend using an agency, rather than hiring on your own. If you choose to use an agency to find you a helper, ask what kind of background check the agency performs. If it is too minimal, you can extend the background check by paying any additional costs for a more thorough search on your own, through a background checking service.

Involve your aging parents or loved one as much as you can in the process of finding a helper to work at his or her home. Even if the participation of your elder is “token”, and you are the one making the decision, it is respectful and kind to ask the elder’s opinion of a prospective worker, and to help the elder feel a degree of control in the process. Even if your aging loved one wants to reject everyone proposed, you can still go through the effort of asking. You may still be able to persuade him or her to go along with your choice, “just to try it out”, or on a temporary basis. If you are able to find a good worker, the elder may actually be relieved and may come to accept the help over a trial period.

Finally, remember that if you hire someone on your own, without going through an employer agency, or you hire an independent contractor, you are legally responsible for reporting what the worker earns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), by a “1099” Form. Many people simply pay someone under the table and use cash, and do not report the worker’s earnings. This does have some risks. If the worker ever turns on you and chooses to use this against you, the worker can. Failing to pay an employee’s withholding tax or failing to provide the 1099 Form to the IRS can put you at risk for fines and penalties from the IRS.

Suggest that a helper might make it easier to reach her back when she’s showering. Offer simple suggestions as to how a home helper might make an activity safer. Mention that it is for your peace of mind. Perhaps Mom will do it just for you.

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