The caregiver I would like – 5 tips to make the right choice

Smiling caregiver embracing happy senior woman in nursing home

A useful guide for the self-sufficient or not self-sufficient elderly, to choose the caregiver you need alone or with the help of a family member or a trusted person. 
A choice that we recommend to make even when you are healthy to not find yourself unprepared in the moment of need.

The caregiver I would like

Many elderly people are aware that at a certain point in their lives they will find themselves faced with a very important choice: finding a caregiver. A person who helps them in their daily lives even if they are still self-sufficient.

The advance of old age sooner or later also limits the sportiest person in performing normal daily activities. It is useful to inquire about the various types of assistance you can count on. Doing so will not arrive unprepared and the risk of falling victims of events will be averted. 
The advice and support of a trusted child or family member is important, but only you can truly identify the ideal assistant for all your needs, especially relationship. 
We offer a useful guide to help you identify the caregiver you would like. To make a choice to share even with those you love.

The choice of a home assistant is a job, in several respects

The search for a home care assistant is comparable to a very important and delicate job. The goal is to solve your assistance needs and have a peaceful coexistence with the person you choose.

These two aspects are fundamental in research because they hide two fears. Choose a person with whom you don’t relate well. In the worst case scenario, to be fooled by remaining highly disappointed and betrayed. Fear entirely justified by the numerous stories that are heard everywhere about elderly people abused by the “wicked caregiver” on duty.

In this sense, remember that personal assistance is a job that by law falls within the CNL of domestic work. This wants to guarantee assistance that, due to experience and skills, meets the real needs of the client. It also offers protection from the obvious risks of undeclared work – in a market where trust, humanity and fairness have a value that goes beyond even the skills; and experience since a real need for help leads to opening the doors of one’s home to a stranger.

The Curriculum Vitae and references help, at the limit there are professionals

The second important advice to follow is to make sure that the person evaluated has all the required documents; in particular the passport for foreigners, a Curriculum Vitae and references that bear witness to their experience and skills. If necessary, request valid training certificates. 
In particular, references from trusted relatives and friends are always a great help. If they are missing, it is advisable to always check whether the information presented by the potential carer is valid. 
In any case, we advise you to consider the possibility of relying on private services or assistance agencies. In this way you will be helped in the selection, and will offer you carefully selected personnel for personal assistance.

Remember that tasks vary based on skills and experience

The CNL of domestic work includes 4 levels of assistance or experience growing from A superior to D superior. We talked about it here. 
These cover the needs of the client based on his condition and his autonomy.

Our third piece of advice concerns tasks. In particular you need to know which tasks are foreseen by contract in the various levels:

  • company and surveillance at all levels;
  • from level B onwards, the performance of household duties, ie cleaning and hygiene of the house, ability to cook meals, use of simple household appliances;
  • from the C superior level onwards the hygiene of the person (bath / shower, hygiene of the skin and body) and direct assistance to the person. An example: the change of posture, help in getting up and lying in bed and help in dressing;
  • health services such as assistance in the administration of drugs, the use of specific medical devices and the ability to lift and mobilize bedridden patients. These are tasks that usually require a C-level assistant (format). At all levels the collaborator must help the elderly by reminding them to follow the doctor’s instructions.

Your needs vary based on your conditions

The fourth piece of advice we give you is to understand your needs based on your conditions. 
Generally all the elderly may need company and surveillance, day and night, to feel more secure and protected even if they are still autonomous. 
Specifically, if you are a self-sufficient elderly in general, you are able to take care of your person and your personal hygiene. But you feel the need for a company or a carer to follow you and help you carry out your normal daily activities. 
If you are a non self-sufficient elderly you need active assistance both for the management of your person and of your home.

Remember then that the term non self-sufficient indicates a person who is no longer able to support himself, a condition that often occurs in the elderly in old age, regardless of his state of physical and mental health. In the specific case of an elderly patient the assistant to the person with experience, trained or not, will be supported by the collaboration with the family doctor or with a medical assistance team. 
So let’s see specifically what level of assistant you need according to the CNL classification of domestic work.

Are you a self-sufficient elder? You mainly need company and surveillance

In particular, if you are a self-sufficient elderly you may need:

  • A person to keep you company and spend some time together. You need the so-called company lady (level A superior) for which no particular experience is required except the attitude to the relationship with an elderly person;
  • A person who helps you with shopping and other errands and who helps you with some housework from cleaning the house to preparing food. The B superior personal assistant is what you need: he has a minimum experience and in any case less than 12 months, but sufficient in solving your needs, even being “controlled” in managing yourself and the home.
Are you a non self-sufficient senior citizen? You need to be assisted by people with more experience and skills

You may need:

  • At the very least the assistant to the person you are looking for must have an experience of more than 12 months (C superior). It cannot be unformed, the classic caregiver. The co-worker you choose specifically must be able to actively and independently assist you, following your instructions. In the hygiene of your person and in your normal daily activities such as eating or walking as well as in the management and cleaning of the house and in food;
  • If your conditions require a particular degree of experience you can choose a superior D assistant. It differs from the previous level because it holds a diploma or certified training that makes it completely independent and autonomous in making decisions to assist you effectively and efficiently.

The duration of assistance

With our fifth board we invite you to evaluate not only the skills, experience and tasks of the assistant to the person, but also the possibility of being assisted: 24 hours a day, only during the day, only at night or occasionally.

The CNL for domestic work has different time frames depending on your needs.

There are specific ordinary and extraordinary hourly rates. Furthermore you must keep in mind that the person-in-charge is a worker with his rights; or vacation days, sickness, hours of rest, TFR and all the guarantees that a work contract provides.

In this sense, you need to find ways to cover the hours of absence of your assistant. If necessary, involve relatives or trusted friends; if this is not possible, consider hiring a replacement to cover the hours you are alone. 
We remember the different types of classification, provided for in the contract, of the “night assistance alone” type, according to the needs of the elderly:

  • night presence for the simple company and surveillance of the elderly without assistance,
  • non-nursing night care to ensure personal assistance
  • nursing night care to ensure, when necessary, health care for the sick elderly person.

In conclusion

You have learned that finding and choosing the caregiver you want is a job to do carefully. It becomes easy if you know your needs well and the grading of the various levels of assistance to the person according to the law. 
Awareness and information help in particular in protecting oneself in the choice, even if you get help from trusted people or specialized professionals.

As for the relationship with your caregiver, we are aware that getting along with each other is often a question of character; we must all support each other, assisted and assistants (our sixth council). 
Generally experience teaches that one can live in harmony helping each other especially in the difficult situation of a cohabitation forced by a need. 
Remember that in extreme cases of total incompatibility of character, lack of aptitude or abuse, you must ask for help. It is also possible to intervene as soon as possible evaluating the removal of the assistant. 
Now with these small but important tips you can really choose the assistant you need safely. Good job!