Choosing a Caregiver

Living in one’s own home or apartment is the goal of many older adults. However, routine chores, meal  preparation and general upkeep can become a burden. Individuals who hire help on a daily basis, or are  considering “live in” assistance, should take precautions before allowing anyone access to the home or personal  property. The exchange of room and board for services rendered may not be a good idea. Actual payment for  services establishes the business relationship from the onset, leaves less room for misunderstandings and allows  for easier termination of an arrangement that may be difficult to dissolve otherwise. The Colorado legislature has  made it a crime punishable by fines and jail time to physically, sexually, financially or mentally abuse an elder age  70 and over. To report elder abuse, call the local police. 

Use the following checklist before allowing anyone access to your home or personal belongings.   

Checklist for Selecting Caregiver YesNo
1. Did you feel comfortable with the person when you first visited?
2. Did the interviewer answer your questions frankly and willingly offer additional  information?
3. Does the person have experience performing the duties you will require?
4. Is the person bonded – and if not, can they be?
5. If the duties require anything other than completion of menial tasks, or if they will  be expected to assist you with personal care, are they licensed or registered  and do they have the appropriate license(s) that are current with the Colorado  Department of Regulatory Agencies?
6. If you have a long term care insurance policy, does this person meet the   qualifications specified for the type of services they will be performing?
7. If you expect the individual to run errands or escort you in a vehicle did you :                
• Ask to see their current driver’s license?
• Confirm that they have liability insurance?
• Check the driving record with the Department of Motor Vehicles?  (your own insurance agent may be able to assist you with this search)
8. Has the agency conducted a CBI and/or fingerprint check for a criminal background   check that is available upon request?
9. Has the person provided at least three references from prior employers?
10. Have you contacted each reference and inquired about their behavior and   temperament as well as their work performance?

If you hire someone privately, a direct employer of household help must withhold 6.65% of wages for Social Security  and Medicare tax, and pay another 6.65% in matching funds. You may also be responsible for other payroll taxes  such as workman’s compensation, unemployment tax and other municipal taxes, if the individual is hired as a  contract employee.