By hiring home care aides you may find that you save a large percentage
that you would be giving to an agency. However, you become their employer and
are responsible for their salary, benefits, hiring, firing and witholding Social
Security taxes. You must be prepared to speak with your loved one's physician
and those who are involved with their case so you can insure your loved one a
proper plan of care.
Researching applicants: Seek out recommendations from family members,
doctors, clergy, caregiver support groups, senior centers, Area Agency On Aging,
placement offices on University campuses, nursing and medical schools. If need
be, place an ad in the local newspaper and post flyers on the bulletin boards at
senior centers, hospitals, and at the universities.
Screen your prospective aid on the phone: Ask them about their former
education and employment. Explain what your needs are for your loved one. If you
feel that they may qualify for the position and you are comfortable with the
conversation schedule an "in person" interview.
Schedule a meeting: Some families prefer to schedule the first interview in
a public area for security reasons. If you are interested in having them work
for you, schedule a second interview in the home where you will be able to show
them around, meet with your loved one and then continue your interview from
Other families are comfortable with having the first interview in the home
if the applicant was referred to you by a reliable source. You may choose to
have a friend or family member with you when the applicant comes to the home.
You may purchase inexpensive employment applications in a local stationery or
business supply store. You May also print these forms out for your use. You may
want to create your own application customizing the information you want to
learn about. It is important for you to describe the job in as much detail as
possible so that the applicant understands what is expected of them. Describe
any unusual information about the care recipient that the applicant should be
made aware of. Be open and honest.
What to look for: You will want to know as much as possible about
the applicant. Important issues to look at are:
- Are they compassionate?
- Do they communicate effectively?
(Give the caregiver the opportunity to speak and be candid. Relaxed, two-way conversation will help you determine if the caregiver is able to assume the various duties required)
- Are they caring?
- Do you think that they will be cooperative?
- Do they appear to be professional and competent?
- Do they listen well?
- Can they repeat back your instructions?
- Are they compatible with your loved one?
(Make sure the applicant is compatible with you or your family
member, so that their time together can be enjoyable.)
- Is the applicant familiar with special medical or adaptive equipment that
may need to be used? Yes____ No ____
Does the applicant:
- Appear to be friendly and mature?
- Make you feel at ease and seem at ease himself/herself?
- Appear to be in good health and physically able to perform required
- Appear to be gentle and willing to follow instructions?
- Appear to have a sense of humor?
- Demonstrate an ability to follow spoken and written directions?
- Have past experience in assisting with and/or caring for people with
- Appear to be alert and interested?
- Demonstrate appropriate social behavior, including self-control?
- Appear to respect your special needs or your family member's special
- Will they be able to talk freely with you and your family member, and
assist with communication if necessary?
- Understand their primary responsibility is to provide care and/or
assistance for you or your family member?
- Can they provide medical documentation that he/she is free of
- Have proof of a valid driver's license, if expected to transport you or
your family member?
Things to tell the applicant:
Make it clear during the interview that you can fire, as well as hire.
You will want to know and agree upon how much advance notice you or your
caregiver should give to end your employment contract or arrangement.
Tell the applicant exactly what duties you expect to be performed, and how
they should be carried out. Be specific.
Make sure they understand what behavior is unacceptable tardiness, not
performing job duties, poor attitude, discussing personal problems, borrowing
Tell them the number of hours to be worked, the time to report to work and
the time to leave work. Agree on times and frequency of breaks.
If you expect them to work on weekends, holidays, at night or other special
times, tell them.
You must both agree on the ground rules. If possible, draw up and sign a
specific employment contract based on the information you have obtained from
Questions to ask:
Why are you looking for work?
Why did you leave your previous job(s)?
What were your previous responsibilities at your last job(s)?
How soon will you be available to work?
How long a period will you be able to work for?
Does applicant have a suggestion for an alternate aid to cover for them
while they are on their day(s) off? Yes___ No___
How will you get to work?
If your regular means of transportation is not available to you, how will
you get here?
Are there any aspects of this work that you do not feel you are capable of
Are there any things you would feel uncomfortable performing?
Give them some examples to see how they might respond. Make up some
questions beginning with "What if ... ?" or "How would you ... ?"
What appeals to you most about this job?
Before agreeing to hire the applicant: If you are interested, please make
sure you do the following:
- Check all references. Check for a criminal record with local law enforcement
officials. Check state records for arrests, and abuse records for people who
have been involved in elder abuse or neglect actions. If necessary check to make
sure that there are no past problems with the IRS over tax issues.
- Draw up an agreement or contract. The agreement should list the name,
address, phone number, social security number, a schedule of days and hours for
work, days off, holidays off, services to be performed, and any benefits you may
agree on such as paid transportation. You may want to consult an elder law
attorney and/or accountant to make sure you withhold the proper taxes and have
proper insurance coverage.
- Practice any emergency procedures that may be necessary for your safety or
your family member's safety.
If you and the applicant agree to proceed with an employment agreement,
provide sufficient orientation several days before the date, so the caregiver
can become acquainted with you or your family member. Show them where the care
recipient profile and emergency information is kept. Make it accessible for them
at all times.
Remember, it is your responsibility to oversee and supervise the person you
hire. It is up to you to direct them tactfully and promptly when the need is
called for. It is also important to praise them when called for.