Some caregiving agencies come highly recommended but you have to realize that they often don't do deep background checks on their staff - just a minimal one. So, if you need someone to be a driver for a family member, you should make sure through the agency, or your own search that they have a current State of Colorado drivers license. At care.com you can pay for a higher level of screening, take advantage of this option. If you are hiring a caregiver on your own without hiring an agency not only do you need a deep background check but have a contract drawn up between you and the caregiver. You can do this through C3Intellegence and websites like LegalZoom. Make sure the person who is being cared for has good liability insurance and workers comp insurance in case the caregiver is ever injured on the job - you can get this insurance through your homeowners insurance company. I personally have hired a caregiver both ways. I hired an agency because I didn't want to deal with the administration, and also did it privately but used GTM payroll agency to handle payment and workers comp insurance. Paying cash to caregivers under the table can get you in trouble with the IRS and could cause you to lose you insurance benefits. By state law, caregivers can work up to 16 hours per shift and weekends and nights are harder to find someone to cover.
Second, make a list of all of the things you are looking for in a caregiver. Decide which things on the list are negotiable, if any. Do you want them to cook or clean for your loved one? Check that they really know how to do these things. Keep in mind that it isn't legal for a caregiver to decide on dosage or time that medication is administered. They can administer the medication from a daily pill organizer, so make sure that you plan ahead for the week or month that they will be doing so. This is also important so that you can keep track of the number of pills you have for each particular medicine - especially if there are any antidepressants or painkillers prescribed.
Do you research on the possibility of having health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare or Veterans benefits pay for the caregiver you are hiring. I only learned recently that veteran benefits include payment of an aid to assist with homecare. That said, it could take up to six months for them to actually approve your claim and find you an aid.
Decide with your family who is in charge of decisions involving the caregiver. Make sure everyone is on the same page with who is handing the hiring or potentially firing of a caregiver.
You may also want to have people in your life like family members or friends drop in unannounced or install nanny cameras in your home due to the sad reality of abuse.
If the family member is out of state you may also think about hiring a care manager. Consider using a site like aginglifecare.org. The fees can be up to $200.00 an hour but the quality of care could be worth it if you can't be near the person often enough to manage it yourself.Another important way to monitor that caregiver needs are being met is to ask the care giver to keep a journal and keep track of their actual work hours and what they did during those hours.
Remember, finding the right caregiver is a challenge and could take several tries. They are human, as are you, and everyone's personality is different. Mistakes can be made, and it's a frustrating and laborious process but worth it to find the right fit for you and your loved one. Good luck!