How to Know When You’re Ready to Hire a Caregiver

Katie Nathan of will be the March 1 guest on Boomer Generation Radio.
Katie Nathan of will be the March 1 guest on Boomer Generation Radio.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest column from Katie Nathan, chief operating officer of, who will be Rabbi Address’ guest on the March 1 episode of Boomer Generation Radio.

By 2030, older adults will account for roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population, and an increasing number are choosing to “age in place” (remain in their homes) to maintain their independence and quality of life. More and more of these seniors will need the assistance of professional caregivers to do so.

So how do you know when you’re ready to hire a caregiver? We’ve developed a list of questions to help you assess your needs.

Cognitive health
Do you or your loved one:
·      Have trouble remembering things that happened recently?
·      Find it difficult to recall recent conversations or events?
·      Have trouble managing money or paying bills?
·      Find they can’t manage their medications?
·      Struggle to find the right words?
·      Have trouble remembering details (phone numbers, addresses, birthdays) that were once easy to recall?
·      Have difficulty operating familiar household appliances (dishwasher, washing machine, dryer)?
·      Experience lapses in judgment or difficulty making decisions?

Physical health
Do you or your loved one:
·      Live with a disability or illness that makes it hard to accomplish daily tasks?
·      Fall repeatedly?
·      Have trouble getting in and out of bed or the car?
·      Need regular treatments like dialysis or IV therapy, or use an oxygen tank?
·      Have difficulty driving safely?

Emotional health
Do you or your loved one:
·      Feel increasingly lonely, depressed, frustrated, or stressed?
·      Notice a change in eating habits?
·      No longer enjoy things that were once enjoyable?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we recommend you consider hiring an in-home caregiver.

Not sure what to look for when hiring a caregiver? A great way to start is by making a list of the tasks you’d like help with and the qualities you’re looking for in a caregiver. Be as detailed as possible.

Most caregivers can provide some or all of the following:
·      Companion Services: conversation, a friendly face, reading aloud, playing cards
·      Home Services: light housekeeping, organization, help with errands
·      Live-In Care: around-the-clock care
·      Meal Preparation: meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking
·      Medication Management: medication reminders and organization (this does not extend to
actually administering medication, which only certified healthcare professionals can do)
·      Personal Care: hygiene, bathing, dressing
·      Respite Care: short-term relief for the primary caregiver
·      Transportation Services: someone to provide transportation to and from appointments or elsewhere

As you’re interviewing caregivers, we recommend confirming the basics of the position (rate, schedule, time off), the services required, and whether the caregiver is a good personality fit.

After you’ve done your preliminary research, be sure to run a background check (including a DMV check if your caregiver is going to provide transportation) and verify his or her references and other credentials.

For more information about caregivers, the services they provide, and to start your search for in-home care, visit You can also reach us by email or by calling (310) 601-3031.

About the author

Katie Nathan
Katie Nathan

Katie Nathan serves as the Chief Operating Officer of CaregiversDirect. Previously, she held positions in creative development for a range of production companies, bringing her passion for storytelling to branded content campaigns in partnership with AT&T, BBDO, and Tim Kring. Katie began working with Lisa Greer in 2008, helping to launch the Beverly Hills Egg Donation’s award-winning blog, as well as their “Ask Kate” forum. She is a graduate of Ball State University, where she received a BA in Acting and Digital Media. An accomplished actress and writer, Katie’s first full-length sketch show made its debut at the Comedy Central Stage in late 2013 and was brought to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in 2014.

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