In-Home Care for Alzheimer's
How to Choose a Caregiver for Alzheimer's Care
Before you hire someone, try to get a clear idea of what you would want him or her to do and the number of hours of work involved. It will cause problems if you do not express your expectations and agree on a plan. Also be sure to provide a good picture of the person who needs care--not only the physical care needs but also some history and the kinds of things the person likes to do. Try to match the potential home care worker to the interests and abilities and temperament of the person with AD. Remember: Care is about relationships and you want to make the best match you can.
NOTE: It is essential that the person you hire understands the effects of Alzheimer's disease and how to communicate with and provide care for a person with this illness.
Once you have hired someone, familiarize the aide with the home, the schedule, the person's taste in food and any other details that will help her to be appropriately responsive to the person she is caring for. Be sure that she has emergency contact information and understands the protocol.
It may help the person in your care to accept the new caregiver if you tell him that the aide is there to help you. Do not suggest in any way that it is because he or she is too much trouble for you. You too will have to learn to trust the person you have hired and to accept that she may not do things exactly as you would. She may do them differently but well enough. Encourage the aide to ask questions. In time, the person you have hired will understand the needs of the person she is caring for, and everyone will feel more comfortable. However, if you get the feeling that the person is not right, don't be afraid to make a change. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the right person.
NOTE: At first, you may feel uneasy about leaving the aide alone with the person you have cared for. This is natural. And don't be surprised if you are not sure what to do with the free time you have worked so hard to create for yourself. This too is natural.
Caregivers who have been reluctant to hire a stranger to care for a family member often find that a warm and caring relationship develops that goes beyond everybody's expectations.