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10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Caregiver or Home Care Agency!



In a recent study, it was shown that:


  • Only 55 percent of the Home Care Agencies did a federal background check. 
  • Only one-third of the agencies test for caregiver skill competency.
  • Supervision ranged from non to weekly, and included home visits, telephone calls, and caregivers visiting the office.

By being an educated consumer, you can find a qualified, reputable agency that employees caregivers who will care for your parent with compassion and skill. 

 Here are ten questions to ask before you hire a caregiver.


  1. Go through a well known agency.  This doesn't necessarily mean a large franchise, but get references before choosing.
  2. What recruiting methods do they use? How are they finding job candidates? Newspaper ads? Staff agencies? Craigslist?
  3. What are their hiring requirements for prospective employees?
  4. What screenings are preformed on caregivers before they are hired? Criminal background checks-federal or state?
  5. How does the agency assess what the caregiver is capable of doing?
  6. Does the agency train caregivers? What does the training entail? Are they knowledgeable about elderly health conditions?
  7. Are the caregivers insured and bonded through the agency?
  8. IS the agency diligent about sending the same caregiver to their home, rather than a revolving door of strangers who parents don’t know or trust?
  9. If you are not satisfied with a particular caregiver, will the agency provide a different person?
  10. Does the agency provide a supervisor to evaluate the quality of home care on a regular basis?  How frequently?

These ten questions will provide you with a great start to getting into the type of care and response that you will receive with the agency that you are questioning. 

Memory Loss... Is it normal, or the beginnings of Alzheimer's?


As people age, it's normal to have occasional memory problems, such as forgetting the name of a person you've recently met. However, Alzheimer's is more than occasional memory loss. It's a disease that causes brain cells to malfunction and ultimately die. When this happens, an individual may forget the name of a longtime friend, or what roads to take to return to a home they've lived in for decades.

It can be difficult to tell normal memory problems from memory problems that should be a cause for concern. The Alzheimer's Association has developed information to help you tell the difference. If you or a loved one has memory problems or other problems with thinking and learning that concern you, contact a physician. Sometimes the problems are caused by medication side effects, vitamin deficiencies or other conditions and can be reversed with treatment. The memory and thinking problems may also be caused by another type of dementia.


We are all forgetful from time to time. Given the growing attention to Alzheimer's in the news these days, many of us, especially senior citizens, have a nagging worry about it. Could it be happening to us? Could we be getting Alzheimer's?

Here are the most often cited list of signs of Alzheimer's Disease as posted from the Alzheimer's Association:

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
4. Confusion with time or place
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8. Decreased or poor judgment
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
10. Changes in mood and personality

In reading this list, you should consider a couple of things. 

First is that the severity and frequency of a given symptom is important. For example, if a person is an accountant and becomes completely unable to balance the checkbook this may be reason for concern. But occasionally making an error while working on the checkbook is probably not something you should worry about. The second thing is that, as mentioned above, the symptoms of Alzheimer's typically disrupt daily life while signs of normal aging usually do not.


With normal aging, we may forget where we parked at the mall, but with Alzheimer's we may forget how we got to the mall. Forgetting the names of people you rarely see can be normal, while forgetting the names of people close to you can be an early sign of Alzheimer's.
Misplacing things from time to time may be normal. But putting things in very unusual places and accusing others of stealing them could be of concern. I give the following example: If you put your glasses in a desk drawer when you normally put them on the top of the desk, that's one thing. But putting them in the freezer or on a high shelf in the garage or in a suitcase kept in the basement is another altogether.

Here are two circumstances that you might experience that may lead you to contact your doctor. First, if you are experiencing the type of memory issues indicated above as possible signs of Alzheimer's, it would be a good idea to write examples down and take it to a neurologist or family physician. Second, even if you aren't having such memory problems, but you're still overly worried about your memory, it might be worth a trip to the doctor. In the very least, it will ease your mind of worries that may turn out to be nothing!



Traveling with a Person who has Disabilities


If you like to travel, but worry about leaving a loved one at home who has a disability, consider taking them with you!  Think of the experience that you and your loved one will be able enjoy and remember!  Here are some tips to traveling with a person who has disabilities:

One thing is to research how easy the city can be to navigate, and how accommodating the city is to wheelchair accessibility.  If you do an internet search of the city's name, and "navigating with special needs," you will be able to find out if this city is an option for you! It will tell you about the sidewalk conditions, and the quality of public transportation, and options for taxi services. If the city has bad public transportation, look into driving services that may be available. 

Look for hotels that will help accommodate your needs, and are close to the sights that you would like to see. Think about things that make your loved one feel comfortable, such as air conditioning.  This will make your trip go more smoothly if the comforts and familiarity that they are used to are also offered at the hotel that you are staying at.  

Consider flying to make your trip shorter.  The airports provide wheelchairs, and offer assistance on and off the plane, and to your next gate, all free of charge.  They also allow you more boarding time so that your loved one can get settled in to their seat without feeling rushed. This will help you avoid long car rides, and you will be able to enjoy your stay at your destination for a longer period of time! 

When getting off of the plane, look into having a car to wait for you.  They will help with your luggage, and you will avoid all of the hassle of trying to hail a taxi.  This will make the trip less stressful, and more relaxing. Take lots of breaks while you are site seeing. Traveling is exhausting, and you don't want to wear your loved one out early on in the trip.  Make time for naps and relaxation!

Make sure to keep any medication on you!  You don't want them to be in your luggage if it gets lost, or delayed.  Carry them in the original bottles, and write down the generic names, just in case you need to find a quick replacement.  If you are traveling outside of the country, write down the interpretation for the reasoning to the medication, such as "high blood pressure." Also look up how to say the things they are allergic to.  

Make sure that you always carry your loved one's doctor's phone number.  A couple of good things to keep on hand at all times are water (to keep hydrated), energy bars and almonds (For a quick boost), Advil, Neosporin, and anti-diarrhea medication.  



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