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Shopping for the Right In-home Help

By Eileen Beal, MA

(Page 2 of 3)

“And,” adds Roberts, “if you aren’t happy with the person, all you do is call the agency and say, ‘This isn’t working.’”

Hiring on your own means asking people you trust for word-of-mouth referrals and/or posting help wanted ads.  Increasingly, you can do that at on-line sites like the PHI National’s Matching Services Project  And you’ll also be doing the screening, interviewing, supervision, scheduling and paperwork.   But, there’s an upside, too.  “It’s usually easier to partner with the person who’ll be coming in, and you will usually be paying less, too,” says Adams.

Do a thorough interview

If you decide to go through an agency, use the questions at the Eldercare Locator ( to screen and vet the agency.  Then, use the following questions to interview the candidates they suggest and/or you find on your own:

  • Can you provide me with your full name, address, phone number, current photo ID and Social Security number so that I can run a background – including credit – check? (If you’re interviewing an agency candidate, request contact information only.)

  • Can you (your agency) provide me with copies of current documentation related to personal insurance, bonding, workers compensation, and your current health status (TB test, immunizations, etc.)?

  • Can you (your agency) provide me with current documentation related to specific services (dementia care, CPR, etc.) you are trained/certified to provide?

  • Can you (your agency) provide me with references related to past clients and employers.

  • How long have you been providing care?

  • Why did you leave your last position?

  • What are your expectations if I hire you?

  • What hours and days will you be available?

  • What hourly rate do you expect, and how do you expect to be paid?

  • How do you like to get feed-back and suggestions?

  • What do you like and dislike about home care?

You should also ask situation-specific questions, such as: Since my mother is Jewish, can you prepare kosher foods?  Since my father doesn’t speak English well, what’s your competency in (fill in the blank)?  Since we get a lot of snow here, how reliable is your car?


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