6 tips for finding the right live in carer

Written by Zenya Smith30/04/24

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24 Hours of Care at Home

Finding a carer is a crucial part of the care journey, and it’s a decision that can impact the whole family. If you’re arranging care on behalf of a loved one, you’ll likely be looking for someone you can trust to provide a high standard of care in the moments you can’t be there. Meanwhile your loved one may be more concerned about whether they can get on with their carer or if they share interests, especially if you’re looking into live-in care. 

In this article we’ll look at the things you can do, and what to think about when choosing someone to provide professional care. 

Why is it so important to find the right live-in carer?

The right carer or personal assistant can completely transform a person’s quality of life. They can help an older person get out and about more and stay connected to their community. They can help them make more time for hobbies and seeing friends, and make the daily tasks that many of us may take for granted safer and easier. For families, having an experienced carer with a loved one can provide unbeatable peace of mind and ease the burden of care, especially if they’re struggling to balance it with work, children, and other commitments.  

And, while a carer may have the right skills and experience on paper, care is an incredibly personal thing. inviting someone into your life can be difficult if you don’t feel fully comfortable with that person, and especially if you’re choosing round the clock care. It’s why many people want to talk to potential carers beforehand to get a better sense of their personality and what they’d be like to live with. 

1. Identify care needs and create a 'wish list' 

If you’re arranging care for someone else, talk to them about their day to day life – what they find difficult, what they’d like help with, and what they’re able to do and would like to continue to for themselves. This will help you understand the level of care that’s needed and start to shape a list of tasks for your future carer. It may include things like – 

  • Personal care – how confident is your loved one in getting in and out the shower or to the toilet un-aided? What level of help would they be comfortable with? 
  • Domestic tasks – what household chores does your loved one dislike or find most difficult? 
  • Medical conditions  – does their health impact their energy levels, mobility, or ability to do certain things? Do they struggle to keep on top of when and how much medication to take? 
  • Recreational time –  What places does your loved one like to visit? Could a carer help them do more of the things they love? 

 

Be sure to factor in any caring responsibilities that you as a family would still be able to or like to contribute too. For example if there are siblings or grandchildren who pop in for regular chats, or who enjoy weekly shopping trips with your loved one you’ll want to work this into your new carer’s schedule, as it could be the perfect opportunity for them to take breaks. 

“It’s really important to work out what you are looking for and set out a list of must haves, nice to haves, and deal breakers. The person who’ll receive the care may be looking for different qualities and you may be surprised at how they would rank the skills and abilities that you value.”

2. Ensure you're comfortable with the vetting process

How carers are vetted can vary depending on whether you’re using an agency, a marketplace, or are looking at hiring a private carer yourself. 

When using care agencies or introduction services, there should be a robust recruitment process in place that they can share details of with you. At the very least, a reputable care provider should ensure carers have completed a full background check. This should involve a DBS check (or a PVG in Scotland) which identifies whether a person has a criminal record. 

Hiring a carer privately will mean doing the background work yourself, make sure you understand the legal responsibilities and employment rights, such as holiday entitlement in our guide here. 

Many companies will do additional screening too. For example, to be a fully vetted and approved carer on the Elder platform self-employed carers must – 

  • Have a clean enhanced DBS or PVG 
  • Provide at least two professional and verifiable references
  • Complete a character assessment, to ensure caring comes naturally to them
  • Complete a judgement assessment, to ensure they can make the right decisions in critical moments. 

 

3. Review carer profiles carefully together 

It’s worth remembering a candidate that you see as the perfect carer, may be seen differently by your loved one or other family members. Looking at potential carers together will help flag any difference of opinion, and could help you think about factors you’d not considered before. And remember not to judge a book by it’s cover, it can be easy to dismiss a carer because their profile photo isn’t the best quality, but they might have the ideal skills and personality you’re looking for. 

At Elder carer profiles feature an introductory video, details of the types of care they’ve provided, and feedback from families they’ve worked with. 

A middle aged couple research care options on a smart phone, while surrounded by financial paperwork.

4. Don't be afraid to ask questions  

A profile is a great way to identify potential carers who have the right skills to deliver high-quality care, however to get a deeper understanding of who they are as a person, and how they’ll build up a connection with your loved one it can really help to speak to them directly. 

This can be over online messaging, over the phone, or on a video call – whatever you’re most comfortable with and is convenient for all involved. 

Be warm, honest, and don’t be afraid to ask questions  – in the long run it’s better for both your family and the carer to find out at this stage if you could be a good match. Some good starter questions may include – 

  • Have you done live-in care before? 
  • What kind of personalities do you get on best with? What kind of people do you clash with? 
  • What’s your favourite thing about providing care? 
  • What kind of complex care have your provided? 
  • What kind of meals can you cook
  • How do you form a good relationship with the person you’re caring for?
  • How do you promote independence?
  • How do you protect a person’s dignity?
  • How do you communicate with the family?
  • How would you deal with a difficult or stressful situation?
  • Is there anything you’d like to ask me?

5. Remember, things can change 

While choosing a dedicated carer for your loved one is undoubtedly a big decision, remember nothing is set in stone. If things don’t work out the way you expected, there will always be a more suitable carer out there. At Elder, our full-time live-in care services come with a one week trial period, so that you can see what life with your carer is like without commitment. If you decide your carer isn’t quite the fit you thought they’d be, you can cancel  – only paying for the days of care you’ve used, or with unlimited carer matching, look for an alternative carer at no additional cost. 

Did you know?

98%

of people receiving live-in care said it improved their quality of life, according to The Live In Care Hub

9 out of 10

Elder families are happy with thier first choice of live-in carer.

6. Don't forget about respite care 

Whoever you choose as your regular carer, as some point they’ll need to take a break. With live-in care, break periods will usually last around a week, with the primary carer returning to work for around four to six weeks before taking their next break, and so on. To ensure older people remain in the familiar surroundings of their own homes during these periods, families will either provide care themselves, or arrange for a professional carer to step in for holiday cover. 

While you’ll already have a clear idea of your care needs and wish list, it’s important to carefully review potential respite carers in the same way as a full-time carer, to ensure everyone feels comfortable and confident in their fit and ability. 

Choosing your carer - advice from Alexis

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