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Recruiting and Retaining Great Caregivers

November 18, 2020

Introduction

Recruiting and retaining great caregivers can be the most challenging part of establishing and sustaining a shared living home. Unfortunately, there is no secret pool of caregivers just waiting for you to post your amazing job opportunity. The reality is, there is a massive shortage of people working in the caregiving field. Most caregiving jobs don’t pay well, making it an unattractive career choice. And no… Partners4Housing does not recruit caregivers. But we CAN help you create a job opportunity that is attractive to job seekers and maximize the that person’s chances of success in your shared home. In this document we give you some important points to think about as you explore how to recruit and retain great caregivers, and we share with you some of the ways in which Partners4Housing can help.

Decide What You’re Looking for In a Caregiver

A caregiver is not going to replace you and all you currently do. You are the parent. Nobody will ever be like you. Keeping that in mind, are you ready to begin letting go of your duties as primary caregiver? Do you want things done the way you have always done them? Or, are you open to trying new ways? Can you be available, supportive, and responsive? Will the caregiver have the tools they need to be successful in their job? Our “All About Me” document will help you think about what is important to share with a caregiver. It is valuable tool where you can document everything you want a caregiver to know about your son or daughter, like emergency information, personality, communication style, favorite foods, social relationships, leisure activities, medical information, and more. Our Residential Assessment will help you think about what you want in a caregiver. The Roommate Matching Pool will help you identify parent partners who share your vision and values.

Know What Caregivers Want and Need

It’s important to create a job that’s attractive to caregivers. Just like any job seeker, caregivers will be interested in the compensation package. What is the pay? Is room and board included? What about healthcare benefits? If you want to recruit and retain a great caregiver, you need to figure out how to pay them well. For families seeking a live-in caregiver, room and board is often included. This can add tremendous value to the compensation package. It means you’ll need to consider the physical space of the home to ensure there is enough private space for the caregiver. You also want to be sure your caregiver has access to healthcare benefits. The compensation package is important, but equally important is considering your caregiver’s work-life balance.

It really doesn’t matter how much you pay your caregiver if you don’t offer them enough time off. Burnout is the fastest way to send your caregiver running for the hills. What is a realistic work schedule? What will a typical day look like? What about vacation time and sick time? What about holidays? It’s important to clearly establish when the caregiver is on and when they are off. Caregivers need time for self-care so they can be fresh when providing care for your loved one. What is reasonable?

Partners4Housing offers you the support and tools you need as you explore the caregiving piece of your shared living solution. We’ll help you brainstorm different caregiving scenarios. Is it important that a caregiver have previous experience? What training and certifications are required? Our caregiver agreement helps families think about pay, time off, and other benefits. Once a compensation package is determined, we help you create a job description. With a job description created, you’re ready to begin your search.

Tips on Where to Search for Caregivers

Most live-in caregivers are found through word of mouth. Begin your search by sharing your job description with everyone you know: extended family, friends, neighbors, places of worship, book clubs, Facebook, and your other social networks. It can be helpful to create a flyer to pass around as you attend your family members events at Special Olympics, community centers, or other community activities. Does your family member have a job coach or attend a day center? These can be valuable resource for you. Some families post ads on neighborhood news sites or Craigslist. Some families post on job sites like Indeed.com or Care.com. You can also share your opportunity with your local home healthcare agencies.

We’ve Found a Caregiver. Now What?

Once you find and hire a great caregiver and the roommates move in, all parties benefit greatly from facilitated support during the transition period. Our “30-60-90-day Path to Success“ ensures that your shared living home launches successfully.

Thirty days after the roommates and the caregiver have moved in, we will facilitate a meeting with the parents and the live-in caregiver. We talk about what is going well, what are the challenges, how are the budgets, how is it going with meals, activities, and schedules. Most importantly, we want to be sure communication is flowing well between the caregiver and the families, and that the caregiver is getting the support they need. We want to identify challenges early and addressed them head on. We schedule additional meetings at 60 and 90 days. Because big life transitions can be difficult for parents and roommates, families and caregivers find it helpful to have these meetings facilitated by a third party. Partners4Housing has had experience facilitating these meetings with many households and can offer suggestions for improving processes and communication. Our “30-60-90-day Path to Success” is an important part of our Shared Living Development services.

In Summary

Caregivers are essential for people with disabilities and there is a shortage of them. To recruit great caregivers, you must offer a livable wage, ensure access to healthcare coverage, and provide for enough time off. To retain them, you need to make them feel valued and appreciated. The Residential Assessment will help you think through your caregiving needs. Our Roommate Matching Pool will help you find families with shared vision and values. Our Shared Living Development services will help you explore the components of a great caregiving job. We help you be creative and realistic as you explore how to support your son or daughter in their life outside your family home. Our advice… start early. Our Residential Assessment is a great first step.