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Hiring a Live-in Caregiver: Everything That You Need to Know

December 13, 2021
Live-in caregiver helping elderly woman to walk

If your elderly loved one needs help with their day-to-day needs, then the solution is hiring a live-in caregiver.

A live-in caregiver will make sure that your loved one will stay independent as possible while getting assistance from anything from doing basic tasks, medical procedures, and therapies.

Live-in Care Explained

The terms live-in or 24-hour care can be used interchangeably. However, note that there are two completely different types of care. 

Live-in care means that the care provider is living in your elderly loved one’s home. While they might sleep there, they’re still permitted to have at least eight to ten hours of rest and sleep. They’re also expected to assist the senior during those hours, but only for quick chores, like going to the restroom.

Meanwhile, for a 24-hour type of care, caregivers work on a shifting schedule, and they’re expected to remain on duty throughout the entire duration of their shift, with only one or a couple of quick breaks in between. One of the most common types of 24-hour care involved three 8-hour shifts.

Finding the right person can sometimes be daunting. If you’re looking how to find a live in caregiver for elderly, these tips will help you get started so that you can find the right person for the job:

1. Ask the right questions

By asking the right questions during an interview, you’ll be able to find someone that’s responsible, trustworthy, and compassionate.

You can also interview prospective applicants over the phone to narrow the list down before interviewing them in person. You should keep it simple and stick to the basics. 

The next step is the in-person interviews and should be more in-depth. Make sure that you ask the questions, especially about an applicant’s experience. You can also ask questions on what they will do if particular situations happen to your elderly loved one.

Let’s say that your loved one has dementia and incontinence. You can ask them what they would do if the person has refused their attempts to get cleaned up. You can also ask them how they will handle a situation if the older adult refuses to take their medication.

You can also cover topics like:

  • Previous work experience
  • Training, special skills
  • What they liked or disliked about the previous jobs
  • How they handle difficult recipients
  • What they like about working with the elderly

2. Check their references

While the person you’ve interviewed may seem like a fantastic caregiver, it’s also best that you do background checks. This includes the following: 

  • Checking their previous employment
  • Looking into references
  • Confirming their license, certifications, etc.
  • Doing a criminal background check
  • Getting their DMV records
  • Checking credit reports

You can conduct a background check by going through a law office or hiring a private investigator. Usually, they have access to specialized databases that lets them conduct a thorough background check. 

Another affordable option is opting through an online company- expect to pay less than $100. You also need a signed release from a potential caregiver to do a thorough background check. 

Also, if you can, call references. Ask how the person has done their job, if they would be hiring the person again and whether they’ll recommend the candidate for the job. 

Since the elderly are at risk for fraud and abuse, check for their criminal record on the states that this person lives or has been employed.

3. Know what kind of caregiving is needed

In-home care isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. So, take time to know what tasks your elderly adult needs help with. Some seniors may need assistance helping with household chores like cooking, cleaning, and doing the laundry. Others might need help doing errands or getting to appointments.

You might also need a person who can help them with ADLs or activities of daily living. This includes getting in and out of bed, getting dressed, and bathing. Or you might need a person who is qualified to give medications, in wound-care, offer therapies, or dementia care.

4. Paying for In-Home Care

If you choose to hire independently instead of using an agency with non-negotiable rates, you can be flexible with the pay. That way, you’ll get the chance to interview the best candidates.

You can state at the job posting that the hourly rates are flexible based on the person’s experience. By doing so, you’ll get better responses from candidates that relatively have more experience. That extra experience may be worth paying that slightly higher rate. You should also know what’s the going rate in your area.

If you’re offering to pay less than the average age, applicants won’t be likely to have the care skills your elderly loved one needs. To know the hourly rate in your area, look at the posting for caregiving jobs similar to yours to know what the average rates are.

5. Have a Backup Plan

Your in-home caregiver plays a crucial role in the care of your elderly adult and will most likely depend on them fulfilling their duties. But unexpected circumstances can happen.

That’s why you need to decide in advance what you need to do in case your in-home caregiver gets sick, needs to take a vacation, or assists you for some reason.

If you’ve decided to work for an agency, they’ll likely take care of this for you, and they have a pool of workers that are available to cover if needed.

But if you hire independently, you might have to take some time off your schedule and find someone else that’s willing to assist your loved one from time to time.

6. Winning Over Your Elderly Loved One

A lot of seniors are also uncomfortable with the idea of a stranger coming to their homes. It usually takes some time for them to be comfortable with the new person and ease into other caregiving tasks that might be needed.

You can put your loved one at ease by being present as much as you can during the beginning. This will help the new caregiver grow accustomed to their new roles as well.

Also, if your elderly person likes things done in a certain way, make sure that the caregiver knows this beforehand.

7. Stay Involved

If you want to maintain a good relationship with your in-home caregiver, then good communication is important. This ensures that your loved one’s needs are constantly being met.

You can schedule times for regular meetings with the caregiver as well. This gives both of you a chance to ask questions or raise any concerns.

Make sure that you also keep the caregiver informed about your loved one’s condition changes, if there are any. Or whether or not their responsibilities need to be adjusted to adapt to these changes.

Also, check in with your loved one regularly. Ask them how things are going, and know whether or not their needs are being met.

Benefits of Hiring a Live-In Caregiver

A live-in caregiver can be an immense help to you, as well as your elderly loved one. Because people who provide live-in care are experienced and well-trained, they can help in several things from dressing your elderly loved one, personal hygiene, housekeeping, and socialization.

Reduce the Risk of Infection

If your loved one has health complications, hiring a live-in caregiver is a much better option than having multiple caregivers on rotation.

Not only they can be properly looked after, but it also decreases any unnecessary exposure. This is especially important in the current time that we live in since COVID-19 can be especially severe on the elderly.

Not only do you have more peace of mind, but your elderly loved one can be properly taken care of without a high risk of infection.


Another advantage of hiring a live-in caregiver is that you don’t need to rush every single day to meet their schedule.

The caregiver will be the one who will be handling certain responsibilities at home, like reminding or assisting them to take their medications, preparing their meals, and taking care of their personal hygiene.

Better Relationships

Having a live-in caregiver makes it easier for your loved one to develop a more trusting relationship with them.

Since they’re present throughout the day, they can provide expert personal care, undivided attention, and even build their relationship with the caregiver.


You are comfortable and have a better peace of mind knowing that a trained professional is taking care of your family member.

You’re more relaxed knowing that they’re safe in the hands of a knowledgeable carer who will attend to their needs, or any emergencies if it happens.

A Wide Variety of Services

Aside from personal care, a live-in caregiver can also give home support like preparing meals and light housekeeping.

They can also give companionship to your loved ones, assist them with activities like bathing and grooming, help them with errands, appointments, and so much more.

Over to You

Hiring a live-in caregiver is an important decision to make. With the right information, you’ll be able to hire the right individual. This allows you to find and eventually hire the right person for the job.

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