Interviewing Home Care Workers for Your Elderly Parent

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Whether you are going through an agency or hiring independently, interviewing potential home care workers is a very important step in the process of hiring help for your elderly parent.

Related Post: Hiring Home Care for Your Elderly Parent

Even if you are only planning to interview one person, you should still hold a formal interview.

  1. It gives you peace of mind that you are leaving your elderly parent in capable, honest hands.
  2. It validates for the worker that you are invested in quality care for your elderly parent.
  3. It establishes your relationship with the home care worker early on, letting them know you are the ultimate authority figure in your home.
After a bad experience with a home care worker who I did not interview, I've made it a point to interview every single person I allow into my home to take care of my mother-in-law. This walks you through the process of interviewing making it much less scary! #caregiving #findinghelp #sandwichgeneration #elderlyparent

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What to Bring to An Interview

When interviewing a potential home care worker, it is very important that you are perfectly upfront about your parent’s needs and your expectations. Prepare a job description ahead of time.

Your job description should include:

  • A list of responsibilities. These should be divided into daily tasks, weekly tasks, and occasional tasks.
  • A simple introduction to your parent’s daily life including:
    • Diet
    • Routines
    • Likes and Dislikes
  • A short list of your expectations (Are showers optional? Is snacking ok or a big no-no?)

An optional but very helpful piece of information you should prepare for a potential home care worker is a personality profile for your elderly parent. This profile helps any potential care provider see your parent as a person, not just a job. Keep this to one page to avoid overwhelming and avoid providing too many details right off the bat. Remember, this is just an overview.

Related Post: How to Get to Know a Person Who Can’t Communicate

Your personality profile should include:

  • Hobbies
  • Favorites
  • Pet Peeves
  • Oddities and habits

Prepare a list of interview questions with spaces for you to write your notes. Make sure you write the name and affiliated agency of the person you are interviewing on each paper so you can keep your records straight, especially if you plan an extensive interview process.

What you should ask your potential hire to bring

Every potential hire should have a list of references and willingly provide those to you. In my opinion, no references or a hesitation to present them is a no-go for me.

The Basics of Interviewing

When interviewing a potential home care worker, keep your appearance simple and informal. Wear something casual but professional and do your hair and makeup in a way that makes you feel confident.

If you are going through an agency, inviting them to interview in your home is acceptable but opt for a public location if you are hiring independently.

Keep things casual. Offer them a drink. If you would like to keep your relationship on a professional level, introduce yourself by your surname instead of using your first name. You can always become less formal but it’s very difficult and awkward to become more formal later.

Keep small talk to a minimum at the beginning of this process. While you don’t want to be stodgy and formal, you do want to keep things professional, establishing yourself as an authority and advocate for your elderly parent. Let your potential hires know how important your elderly parent’s care is to you.

Related Post How to Know When to Make Decisions for Your Elderly Parent

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    Interviewing Home Care Workers for Your Elderly Parent

    Begin the interview formally, with a cheerful, “Let’s get started!” so your potential hire is aware that anything said from that point forward will be part of the interview and used in your consideration.


    In the first part of the interview, give a short overview of yourself, your home, how you got to this point, and why you are hiring help now. Go over the job description and be specific about your expectations for the person you hire. Stress to the potential hire that they will be part of a caregiving team and should function accordingly.

    Next, walk through your prepared personality profile of your elderly parent. Keep your elderly parent’s personal life private by avoiding details. This is just to give potential hires a glimpse at the personality of the person they will be caring for in your stead.

    After this overview, ask if there are any questions. If there are none, ask if they agree to the job description and feel they would be a good fit for your parent’s personality.


    After the overview, you get to the heart of the interview where you will ask your questions. Make your questions fair and unbiased (in other words, don’t ask them if they’ve stolen anything from a client) and pertinent to the job you are asking them to do.

    • Ask them about their last job, if they have any experience with your parent’s particular illness or difficulty, and what makes them feel qualified for your particular situation.
    • Ask them what strengths they have and what made them choose caregiving as a career.
    • Ask them about a struggle they faced as a caregiver and how they overcame it.

    Your goal is to find out if this person will be a good fit for you, your elderly parent, and your family. Keeping your questions professional and on-topic will go a long way in giving you confidence in your hire and keeping the interview running smoothly.

    Wrap it up

    The final step in the interview is to ask if the person has any thing else to add or any questions for you. Answer questions succinctly but beware of “rabbit trails” and distractions. Keep the interview flowing to completion.


    After the interview, do a personal evaluation. Make notes about your initial impression of the person, any red flags that you notice, and anything notable the person said during the interview.

    You should feel fairly confident that this person is someone you are comfortable caring for your elderly parent. If you are not confident or feel “on the fence”, you should definitely keep looking. If you have more interviews but feel good about this person, then move them to your potential hire pile.

    Make sure you call references shortly after the interview. Ask them about the character of your potential hire, if there were any concerns, and why they are no longer in their service.

    Always keep your interview records should you need to repeat the process at some point. This will keep you from re-interviewing someone you felt insecure about and will give you a good starting point in the future.

    Finally, always call everyone you interview to let them know about your decision. If it’s a “no,” simply saying, “We can’t use you at this time but thank you,” is sufficient. Never be so disrespectful as to neglect to forgo telling someone of your decision.

    Did you like this post? What are some tips you have for interviewing potential home care hires? Let me know in the comments below!

    Don’t miss the previous post in this series, Hiring Home Care for Your Elderly Parent.

    Empowering women to THRIVE in their multi-generational homes.

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    Interviewing a home care worker for your elderly parent is terrifying! After all, you don't want just anyone caregiving when you can't be there. This post walks you through the process and makes interviewing a home care worker easy! #caregiving #elderlyparent #findinghelp #sandwichgeneration

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