My mom has Alzheimer’s and will soon live with me, but I need to hire a caregiver. How can I make sure I get a person with the right skills?

This will depend heavily on how much care your mother requires. A private agency or home health provider can help determine what skill levels are needed and find you a suitable worker.

You might need somebody just for housekeeping-type chores, such as cooking and cleaning. If your mother has not moved past the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and remains fairly independent, you might want to hire a sitter so she isn’t left alone. If this is the case, make sure you specify you want a sitter with experience with dementia patients.

If your mother requires more help with things such as bathing, toileting or dressing, you will need a certified nurse aid, or the equivalent. A nurse would become involved only when your mother would require skilled services. These become needs typically after a hospital stay.

A home care agency can provide the aid and advice you require. An agency will do the background checks, actual hiring, training and payment of the worker — and dismissal if/when it’s needed. Many people think it’s worth it to pay for this bit of extra support. If you hire an assistant on your own, you can count on spending a lot more time on the particulars, though the monetary cost will likely be lower.

Again, depending upon your mother’s abilities, adult daycare is another option. Your mother could attend all day and get any or all of the services mentioned above taken care of. She would receive supervision, meals, activities, socialization and assistance as needed. For you, as a family caregiver/hostess, it will give a needed break. Your mother probably also will like the change of scenery and socialization, among other things. And she should get good care.

This is a scenario many people face. Remember to go with your gut feeling when you are dealing with anyone caring for a loved one. If you are not entirely — as in 100% fully — comfortable with a person charged with taking care of a loved one, you should reconsider and make changes as necessary.  For more information, an excellent resource is “The Indispensable Alzheimer’s Resource Kit.” It can be downloaded at no cost by clicking here.