So You Want to Hire an Arthritis Caregiver: What You Need to Know
7 minute read
Arthritis affects millions of people and often can impede on daily activities and life. As you get older, arthritis can become worse, even with effective treatment plans in place. It may become necessary to hire an arthritis caregiver for yourself or loved one.
Having a caregiver may not always be necessary, but it certainly helps to lighten the physical load and demands that come with everyday living. Even when you or a loved one wants to do everything, your body may be better off getting some help.
While you can live with arthritis, overdoing it can make the condition worse, so getting help every now and then is a good thing. Here is what you need to know to hire the right caregiver for your needs.
Getting the Right Caregiver
There are a few important things to keep in mind when looking to hire a caregiver. Caregiving can be a stressful profession, so it is important to make sure you identify the best candidate for the job.
Make a List
Make a list of all the chores or tasks that will need to be done. Make sure you think about all the daily activities that may require help such as gardening, grooming, shopping, driving, housework, and medical needs.
You also need to write down the hours and days of the week when help will be needed. Once you have all the information in front of you, you can write detailed and accurate job descriptions.
This makes the hiring process easier, as potential applicants will know exactly what is to be expected ahead of time.
If you decide to go through an agency, you will likely find a better fit, as those with the necessary experience will be pre-selected for you. Agencies also help make the selection and hiring process easier, as they handle all communication and can give you additional details about each applicant. They can also make sure that all candidates have the necessary licensing and certifications.
If you are going it alone and are looking for an independent caregiver, then you need to conduct several interviews with candidates.
Be sure to request credentials and references from them and verify any information they give you. By doing a few interviews, you not only get the chance to see who is qualified, but you get to know the person and can decide if their personality and work ethic will be a good fit for your needs.
Even though agencies typically verify references for you, you are still advised to check for yourself. This gives you a chance to ask questions that the agencies may miss.
You also want to keep a copy of the caregiver’s identification, social security number, contact information, and certification on file. Generally people are honest, but there are individuals that may scam and take advantage of you.
Verifying references as well as keeping important information is necessary should you need to take legal action.
Get Everything in Writing
Use the list you designed originally in the beginning to make a list for the caregiver to keep each day. This helps them stay on task and ensures all tasks get completed. You can use a list format or have everything written in a calendar that they have access to.
Along with the written list of chores and tasks you have written down, you want to keep all job details in writing too. Some people draw up a contract for their caregivers to sign.
Feel Free to Change Your Mind
As with any job situation, an interview is only a glimpse into whether the working relationship will work or not. When it comes to caregivers, it is standard to allow a month trial period to make sure all parties are happy and comfortable.
Be sure to mention the trial period up front. This will make it easier should you decide not to extend a formal offer.
Self-Care for Arthritis
Caregivers may be required for certain daily tasks, but you also have options when it comes to treating arthritis yourself. By making some changes, you or a loved one can effectively manage arthritis flare-ups and pain, so daily tasks are not as difficult.
Weight management: Excess weight puts increased pressure on your joints, and when these points are already inflamed with arthritis pain can be more severe. Losing weight decreases pain and increases mobility, allowing you to do more for yourself.
Exercise: It may seem that movement would be worse for arthritis but in reality, it helps to improve mobility and flexibility. Regular exercise, cardio, and light strength training keep the muscles that support your joints healthy and help to get rid of the weight that may be causing problems.
Dietary changes: Avoiding inflammatory foods in favor of anti-inflammatory ones helps to reduce any aggravation to arthritis. You can also add a few things to your diet to help out.
| Related: The Arthritis Diet: What to Eat and What to Avoid |
Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce both joint pain and stiffness which makes movement easier. Turmeric, or curcumin supplements, also helps because of their potent anti-inflammatory content. In fact, some supplements are designed with turmeric and other ingredients specifically to aid in reducing joint discomfort.
Stay positive: Arthritis can be debilitating, and there will likely be some activities you have to give up. Sadly, because of this depression is commonly associated with arthritis. Staying positive is the first step to not letting arthritis beat you.
| Related: 7 Tips for Keeping Life Normal After an RA Diagnosis |
In addition to this, you don’t have to give up the things you love. You can just make some modifications and keep the smile on your face.
The Bottom Line
By working to promote optimal joint health, naturally relieving arthritis pains, and hiring a caregiver to handle some of the more strenuous tasks, one can live with arthritis. There may not be a cure, but this combination allows you to take care of your joints and offers much needed support to prevent more serious damage.
Caregivers, support, and self-care offer your best option when it comes to living your best life and not letting arthritis get in the way.