Hiring a Caregiver



The state of Virginia regulates the home care industry just as strictly as insurance companies are regulated. This should give you a peace of mind to know the accountability level a home care agency must submit to.

1 – It is a Virginia state law to treat a domestic worker as an employee. A domestic worker is any person you hire privately to help you privately. It could be a lawn worker, painter, caregiver, etc.

2 – If you have more than 2 people helping you, you are required to carry workers compensation on them. You must pay their taxes and issue a W-2.

3 – You must be able to prove the individual is a US citizen or has the right to work in the U.S. There are appropriate forms to file for this.

4 – You must post the same labor posters in your home that an agency is required to post.

5 – You are liable should the individual get injured in your home or on your property. The penalty for not having Workers Compensation is huge if you have more than 2 individuals working privately for you.

6 – Before hiring anyone off the street, make sure you get their permission to run a criminal and sexual offender background on them.

7 – Before allowing the individual to drive you around, make sure you know what is on their driving record. Also, find out if they have auto insurance coverage.

Using a home care agency may cost you a little more, however, doing things right the first time can eliminate expensive problems down the road.

Call me today for a confidential consultation if you have questions at 804-614-6193.

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Pro-Active Care-Giving

Serving the elderly requires energy and creative ideas to enhance stimulation in their every day life.  When the caregiver shows up with a schedule of activities, it can bubble up a level of excitement within the elderly person.  At first, the senior may resist but deep down most are bored and would love to be stimulated on something other than sugar.  When an idea is presented with enthusiasm, who wouldn’t want to participate.


It is easy for a caregiver to get bored while serving the elderly if they are not motivated and inspired themselves.  Each day is full of its own experiences, some good and some not so good.  When we take the time to experience each part of the day, we become awakened to life itself and manifest joy even when the way may be difficult.  We will never get to experience today again as it will be gone tomorrow, so let us strive to enjoy the brilliance of living every day. 


Get excited as you plan your weekly set of activities for the elderly client you will be working with.  Perhaps Monday is spa day, Tuesday is readers club, Wednesday is meditation time, Thursday is lunch out or picnic in the home if client is unable to travel, Friday is music day and the list grows and grows.  Give each day a theme day and use your creativity to design the activity around the likes of the elderly home bound client.


Present with excitement in your voice the weekly schedule of activities and/or events to the elderly person you are helping.  Be prepared to share with them how each activity will benefit them.  The energy you present changes the atmosphere.  You can change it with joy as well as sorrow.  Have you ever been around happy people and found yourself feeling better ?  How does it feel when you walk into a room where people are angry and complaining ?  If you stay too long, you will soon find yourself upset about something.


Pro-active care-giving will change your life.  We feel good when we live with a purpose.  The better we feel, the better life gets.  To be a joyful caregiver, it is important to take care of you first.  Pay attention to your emotions and train your mind to think upon the things you do like and with consistent good feeling thoughts, you will have more and more good experiences.


Please use the chart attached for designing your week of fun.


By Shari Mercer, President

Heart Home Care






Saturday – Spa Day / Sunday – Meditation / Monday – Coupon Day

Tuesday – Game Day / Wednesday – Outing / Thursday – Music Day / Friday – Book Club



Spa Day – A time of pampering with soft music in the background, candles lit, fresh flowers on the table, hand and back massage, paint nails, Epsom foot bath, scalp massage, hair and make-up, present an inspirational quote, make this a day they look forward to

Supplies – CD or radio, candles, flowers, lotion, nail polish, Epsom salt, small tub, inspirational quote


Meditation – A one hour guided meditation to relax the mind / Silence the phone to avoid interruption / light candles and provide a comfortable space

Supplies – Guided meditation CD or make one up yourself, blanket to keep client warm while sitting still and candles


Coupon – Take the Sunday paper or current magazine and cut out recipes and coupons

Supplies – Sunday paper, current magazine, scissors


Games – Create an afternoon with giggles and games such as hang man, cards, painting, coloring, working a puzzle or doing something fun outdoors

Supplies – cards, paper, crayons, markers, pencil, pen, puzzle


Outing – Go out for lunch or to a site that interests the client / if client is unable to get out, make a picnic at home and pretend you are somewhere else

Supplies – Car, approved by agency to transport client, energetic attitude / if staying in, find pictures of an island, beach or mountains and talk about what it is like when you are there


Music – Get the number 1 hits from client’s era and sing along / put your dancing shoes on and let the chuckles be heard / get some facts about the artist and song to share

Supplies – A big smile, high energy, songs and facts


Book Club – Determine a good book the client will enjoy and read several chapters each week / at the end of reading time talk about the events in the book and characters

Supplies – book that clients likes

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Characteristics of a Professional Caregiver

The most effective way to assist an elderly person is to maintain a professional demeanor. I

have witnessed caregivers relinquishing their professional power when they see themselves

as “one of the family” or the “best friend”. When this occurs, it often becomes difficult to assist

the elderly with activities of daily living such as bathing, changing, exercise, etc. as the elderly

client no longer sees the caregiver as one with authority.

The caregiver, home care agency and client and/or representative share a role in maintaining

professionalism. Below are some suggestions for each to consider to ensure the elderly

client receives the excellent care they deserve.


The agency administrator is responsible to educate caregivers of agency expectations

regarding professionalism during orientation and throughout their employment. Should the

administrator, nurse or office manager detect an unprofessional act or demeanor, each has a

responsibility to address the caregiver to assist them in regaining their professional

demeanor. Taking action early benefits the elderly client and prevents the caregiver from

getting stressed out. When a caregiver sees themselves as a professional, the elderly client

and others will too.

The agency administrator is responsible to bring awareness to the elderly client and/or client

representative of agency expectations of their caregivers during the initial service visit as well

as the responsibilities of the elderly client and/or client representative.


The agency’s expectations of professional care giving service include but not limited to:

caregivers are to provide their own food/drink, refrain from sharing their personal problems

with elderly client and/or client representative, show up for work on time clean and energetic,

follow the care plan designed by agency, report immediately to agency of any changes in

elderly client, refrain from cell phone usage, refrain from watching television, be alert to client

needs, clean up areas after themselves and elderly client, refrain from using offensive

language, respect elderly client views on politics and religion and to always remember they

are there for the needs of the client and not their own.


The agency’s expectations of the elderly client and/or client representative include but not

limited to: inform agency immediately of unprofessional or poor service, direct caregivers to

the agency should caregivers have complaints about agency or client care duties, report theft

or any type of criminal activity to agency immediately, agree to the service care provided, sign

off on client care records at the end of each service week, inform agency of schedule

changes, never give money or gifts to caregivers unless approved by agency and report all

information critical in providing the best personal care for you or your loved one.

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Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Elderly Loved Ones

Gift buying for the elderly person who has everything they need or lives in an assisted

living facility where space is limited can be a challenging task. Santa Claus gave me

some good ideas to pass onto you for the special seniors in your life. Most of these items can

easily be found on the Lillian Vernon website or of course, at the North Pole if you put the

order in early enough for Santa to deliver.

If you are the caregiver of your loved one and need a break at this busy time of year,

please call A Heart For You and let us lighten your load. 804-614-6193

 Cane with Bling

 Birth Month Flower Necklace

 Custom House Sketch (we can make a referral)

 Fresh Flowers

 Puzzles / Word Books / Adult Coloring Books

 Don’t forget the cool coloring pencils

 Self Watering Planter

 Eye Glass Holder

 Life alert necklace or bracelet – Lillian Vernon has a great selection

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New Ideas for Dementia Care

Activities are a must for our memory care clients. It has recently been found that coloring is similar to

meditating as it pauses the thought as one ponders on the task at hand.

Being outdoors with bare feet in the grass when weather appropriate helps to stabilize mood and calm

the mind from racing thoughts; something we can all benefit from.

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Tips On Elderly Home Health Care

Tips on finding the best elderly home health care in the

Richmond, Midlothian, Chester, Hanover, Henrico, Short Pump, Glen Allen,

New Kent, Powhatan, and Goochland Virginia area.

  • Select a elderly home health care agency that is licensed with State Department of Health as this ensures the agency is insured and bonded according to VA regulations.
  • Ask the elderly home health care agency to provide referrals from some of their elderly clients they are currently serving and/or former clients.
  • Ask the elderly home health care agency how they screen their caregivers to include drug testing policy.
  • Ask the elderly home health care agency how much they pay their caregivers and what kind of turnover they have with their employees who provide in home senior care.


What makes A Heart For You different from other elderly home health care agencies in the Richmond, Midlothian, Chester, Hanover, Henrico, Short Pump, Glen Allen, New Kent, Powhatan, and Goochland Virginia area

7 reasons to call A Heart For You for your elderly home health care needs

  1. AHFY is locally owned and operated
  2. The owner of AHFY was a caregiver herself before starting the business in 2010
  3. AHFY pays a fair hourly rate – no minimum wage pay – AHFY treats their employees with respect
  4. The owner of AHFY is involved in the day to day operations and is available to assist her employees
  5. The owner of AHFY is available 24/7 to elderly clients – AHFY does not use an answering service company
  6. AHFY has a spiritual /wellness program for their employees – The owner desires to see each employee happy and healthy
  7. The owner and office staff of AHFY volunteer their time at various senior facilities in the Richmond area and participate in fund raising for seniors

A Heart For You (the best in elder home care)


We are available 24/7 to assist you with elderly home health care


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