How to Hire the Right Caregiving Professional for You


How to Hire the Right Caregiving Professional for You

Keeping a life during a life of caregiving can feel like a tall order. How do you cope with the pressure, the stress, the worries, the needs and stay present in your career, your priorities, your relationships? How do you stay your best while getting the best for your caree?

A professional, like a therapist, coach or consultant, can be a huge help as you navigate the caregiving experience. We offer suggestions to help you choose the professional right for you:

  1. If you want to heal a past pain, then a therapist will be the right choice for you. A therapist can help you cope with the past and its impact on the present while putting strategies together so you are ready for the future. For instance, a therapist can help if you struggle caring for a family member because of a past abusive relationship. In addition, the right therapist can help you heal from PTSD and the impact of the abusive relationship on you. If you work, check with your employer's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to learn if you have free counseling sessions available to you.

  2. If you would like a professional assessment of your caree's situation, then an Aging Life Care Specialist can help. (Aging Life Care Specialists used to be called geriatric care managers.) Typically a nurse or social worker, an Aging Life Care Specialist can recommend services and programs for your caree, can put plans in place so your caree remains safe at home and can help manage your caree's team of home care workers. The Aging Life Care Specialist focuses on your caree's needs because of their specialization in the aging process. You also can check with your employer's EAP to see if you have a benefit that offers free consultations with an Aging Life Care Specialist.

  3. If you would like help for yourself, then connect with one of our Certified Caregiving Consultants™, who have an expertise in the caregiving experience. A CCC can help you understand your priorities, create coping strategies and manage your stress. CCCs can help you find the right facilities, agencies, resources, products and services for you and your caree. In addition, CCCs can brainstorm solutions with you and provide an empathetic ear so you can vent without guilt. Our CCCs also have a personal caregiving experience, which means they bring an understanding of the experience into their work. The CCCs focus on you because of their specialization in the caregiving experience. (We've just launched a Caregiving Co-op EAP; we'd be happy to talk with your employer's HR department about how CCCs can help at your workplace.)

  4. If you want to focus on achieving your own personal goals during a caregiving experience, you could hire a life coach to help. Life coaches help you start where you are to move forward into achieving personal or career successes. Many life coaches specialize in helping you with specific life goals, like losing weight, changing careers or writing a book.

You may find that professionals have a varied background in order to bring their best to you. For instance, therapists like Kim Falk and social workers like Kathy Koenig and Julie Adduci have completed our training to become CCCs, recognizing that working with family caregivers requires specialized training. I am a professional life coach who believes professionals who work with family caregivers need training in the caregiving experience so created the CCC program.

When considering which professional to hire, you can request a complementary session or consultation so you can determine if the professional aligns with your style. (Our CCCs and life coaches always will offer you a complementary session.) Regardless of which professional you choose, remember that you drive the sessions and consultations with your agenda. You tell the consultant or coach or therapist want you want to manage, resolve, achieve and create. The right professional will help you do just that. If he or she doesn't, find another who will.

A few caveats as you consider which professional to hire:

  1. Ask anyone who calls themselves a coach or consultant about their professional training. Anyone can call themselves a coach or caregiving consultant but not everyone should. A professional will invest in a training program that elevates their work, skills and knowledge base.

  2. In addition, a certified training program typically will hold professionals accountable for their work. For instance, if you are unsatisfied with a CCC, you can complain to me and I'll address the issues. (I've de-certified a CCC for infringing on a copyright, for instance.) If you hire a professional who is not certified or credentialed, then you cannot hold him or her responsible to a governing body for unethical behavior.

  3. Be wary of professionals who indicate that they offer free services. Nothing is free. If you do not pay the professional for their services, then ask who does. For instance, you probably have seen commercials for free services which help you find the right facility for your aging parents. While you may not pay the professional, the professional does get paid --  from a facility when a placement is made. For instance, let's say I work with Anne from A Place for My Parents because I need to move my parents into an assisted living facility. Anne recommends facilities to me and then joins me on tours of the facilities. I choose one of her recommended facilities and that facility then pays Anne because I moved my parents into that facility. In this situation, Anne is working for the facility, not me. If Anne receives money from a facility for a placement, how well can she keep in mind my parents' needs? In addition, if Anne only recommends facilities to me which belong to her network (meaning, they agree to pay Anne), then how do I know I'm touring the facilities best for my parents? If you hire a consultant to help you find the right facility, then you know you have a consultant helping you make the decision best for you and your caree.

You can use these professionals in any way that works for you. Perhaps you hire an Aging Life Care Specialist every January to assess your caree and review what additional services or programs your caree may need. You may want to take advantage of free sessions with counselors available through your company's EAP every year. When you exhaust the free sessions, you can hire a CCC or life coach. Maybe you hire a CCC for monthly sessions so you can talk it out with a professional who gets it so that you can hear the right solutions. Perhaps you hire a coach or therapist or CCC for quarterly sessions each year. Whatever will work for you works.

As you navigate caregiving, which professionals have you hired? What experiences have you had? Please share in our comments section, below.


  • Not sure you want to hire a professional but have a story you really want to tell to someone who understands? Join our Story Project.

  • Check out the Tools and Assessments our CCCs can use with their clients.

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