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I live in California and have parents who are getting older now and things are unfortunately starting to go downhill. I work full time and have a generally busy lifestyle and wasn’t able to be there to care for them. My father was slowing slipping into dementia and it was getting harder to ensure that they were safe while I was away.

The last thing I wanted to do was put them in a home as I knew it would just crush their spirits even further so I went on a search to find alternate in-home care options. I went through a couple of different services but wasn’t really happy with any of them.

Has anyone else had good/bad in-home caregivers?

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A place to sometimes check for a good local agency reference are the assisted living facilities in your area. They will already have existing relationships with agencies they know bring quality caregivers for their residents.
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I have been involved with elder care all my life, my mother took care of several relatives and I started working at a hospital at age 14, as well as lite sitting with some elderly for short periods. I was taught, and agree, that the best way to find a caring person with empathy is word of mouth. Ask other caregivers and people in similar situations. Ask at doctor's offices, church, elder day care centers, senior groups such as exercise, quilting, etc., nurses, home health workers, support groups. Ask everyone, they may say no now, but when they think about it for a while, they often think of possibilities. Unfortunately, you will have to look under many rocks. Don't give up, there is someone out there looking for an honest, reliable job where they can feel like they are making a difference. I know that I am.
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I've been shouting the praises of the caregiver I got off a web site called care. They charge $25 to join their site and you can see profiles of caregivers in your area by entering your zip code. They also offer background screening for about $50 - $300 depending on how thorough you want the background check to be. I had a choice of dozens of applicants in my area from CNAs, RNs, LPNs, cooks, companions etc. I chose a companion for my mother who was looking for a live in position. We're all ecstatic with our arrangement. Her fees are $10 per hour - much cheaper since she gets all the money and none goes to agency fees.
I dealt with an agency one time and boy was I burned. They sent out a crazy woman who was a thief and promised that they did thorough background checks. I will NEVER use an agency again. They charged me $18 per hour for somebody that, had I met her previously, I would not have allowed in my home.
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I find friends or other caregivers can refer you to some. Good assistants and not cost as much either
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I went through a smallish local agency. In our area I heard good things about them, and they have been great. We have had the same part time CG for over a year, The turnover is low. We had one other CG from the same company while Mom was in rehab, for dad. That CG was male. When mom came home he did quit the company and we got a great lady who has been with us for the past year, the lady is better for Mom, as company.. and still great with Dad and his ALZ. I like the fact that turnover is low.. stability is good.
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