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January 14, 2013

When It Comes to Care, Never Settle for Less

Today’s blog is from Ron. Right before taking a job in the Email Marketing team at, Ron learned that his father had a very aggressive form of brain cancer. Here he talks about how he helped his mom find someone to help care for his dad – without having the experience of working for

Blog-dont-settle-for-careTwo summers ago, my mother and I found ourselves desperately looking for help. My father was ill, and being that I lived a 12-hour plane ride away, I was home for two weeks to find a caregiver who could help both my dad and my mom. The irony was that I was about to start my job at and was about to learn the hard way how to hire a caregiver.  It turned out that we didn’t know the first thing about what to look for. We had created a caregiver profile that was incomplete and wrong. It took a week of interviewing over a dozen caregivers until we identified our real needs, adding some and dropping others.

So whether you are looking for a babysitter, nanny, tutor, special needs aide or senior caregiver, I thought I’d share some of the things Mom and I learned along the way:

  • Include Dad in the Decision Process. This might seem like a no-brainer to you, but to Mom and me, we thought it was obvious not to bother our patient. But in the end, we needed to make sure there was a connection between the two people who would spend the most time together: Dad and his caregiver.
  • Consider what the Situation Really Needs. Mom and Dad didn’t want someone living in the house. It meant sharing a kitchen and a bathroom and losing some of their personal space. But it turned out that it’s actually what they needed – and I needed to convince them of that. It took some getting used to, but my parents learned to accept that some loss of privacy was worth the comfort and necessary support.
  • Re-think Your Must-haves. We thought we wanted the caregiver to speak Hebrew (the main language spoken in my parents’ house), but this need fell to the bottom of the list as we realized that the combination of a non-smoker and the ability to lift a 200-pound man became harder to find (along with the medical training and compassion he could show my father).
  • Don’t Give up or Settle. You’re going to meet a lot of people and believe me, as horrible as it sounds, if you’re in as dire of a situation as my mom and I were in, you’ll feel like hiring the first "decent" person who walks through the door. All I can say is don’t. Don’t settle on decent. Keep interviewing your applicants. If it helps, re-post your job profile with an updated job description based on what you’ve learned along the way. You will find someone who is better than "decent." You just have to keep on trying.

Have you hired a caregiver for someone in your family? What lessons have you learned along the way?



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Ron -
I am so sorry to hear about your dad. It is sadly ironic that many of us who work in caregiving find ourselves in need of care for our parents, only to face some difficulties in in getting our parents the care they need. I wanted to let you know you are not alone. I am the COO at the Caregiver Action Network (formerly known as the National Family Caregivers Association)and I have experienced challenges getting my parents to accept help. I knew where to turn for help - I turned right to! But despite some serious health issues, I still cannot get my father to agree to allow help in the house. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences at this time of grieving. If we all share what we learn, together we will be able to get help to more caregivers. Take Care!

Care For The Elderly

This is really a benevolence to which will surely benifitte4d you in your old ages. TO work for the others is giving inspiration to me also. Thank you for sharing such a good suggestion to work for the elders which will pay off once in life.

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