Q&A with Ric Cavanagh: Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease

Ric Cavanagh - Certified Alzheimer’s Homecare Trainer

Each week we will be featuring a question and answer with our Director of Staff Development, Ric Cavanagh, M.S.W., about Alzheimer’s disease and what to do when your elderly parent is diagnosed. Keep an eye out every Tuesday for Ric’s Alzheimer’s Q&A.

Have a question for Ric? Visit our “Contact Us” page to submit your question and Ric’s response will be posted on the EasyLiving blog.

Q: How will I know when a caregiver is “right” for my parent with Alzheimer’s?

A: Make sure that you include your Mom or Dad in the selection process for a caregiver.  Talk with them about the type of person that they might get along with.  Be a good consumer and shop around to make sure that your caregiver works for a company that has plenty of experience in dealing with Alzheimer’s clients.  Talk with that company about the type of training that they provide for their staff.  Ask if their trainers are certified by the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.

Most importantly, always make sure that the home health company agrees to send several candidates for the caregiver position for you and your loved one to interview before you select someone.  You don’t want to have a stranger suddenly showing up at your mom or dad’s home to provide personal care.

Ask the caregivers about their experience, why they decided to become a caregiver, etc.  Tell them about what your mom or dad likes to do, their personal preferences for bathing or showering, etc. and make sure that the caregiver is comfortable in providing that care.  You want to find someone whose skill set is a good fit between your relative’s needs.

Finally, make sure that the caregiver works for a company that provides worker’s compensation coverage, has liability coverage and is properly licensed by the state.  This would assure that the caregiver has had a criminal background check, does not have any communicable disease and is generally fit and licensed to provide the kind of care that your loved one needs.