The trustworthy, loyal and efficient care for seniors or the infirmed provided by a Heartland caregiver is to be appreciated and encouraged to remain as such. Our companions to seniors, for example, are incredibly giving people with a high regard and respect for elders, as well as a comprehensive understanding of geriatrics. Remember, it is not the goal of our caregivers and companions to move in and try and change your parents’ or other loved one’s lifestyle. Our competent and sensitive caregivers ease the difficulties brought on by advanced age while allowing seniors the space and independence they require, while forging a harmonious, long-term relationship. The bond between a caregiver and a person requiring care to be able to stay in their home, can be a beautiful thing to behold. It allows a precious measure of independence and autonomy for the senior. It can also relieve an elderly person of their concerns about burdening his or her own children with the infirmities of aging.
Our caregivers are dedicated professionals selected for their suitability for the rewarding yet highly demanding work of in-home care. Because most persons requiring care cannot be left alone for any period of time, it can be confining. It also requires enormous patience, respect and a high-level of attention to detail and accountability. With so many difficulties involved, you may wonder what type of person is be drawn to this work. If so, you will be surprised at the high caliber of skilled and loving individuals who have chosen live-in companionship and caregiving as their profession. Oftentimes, they are widowed or divorced and in their middle years, with their children grown and leading independent lives. Frequently, they have a professional background in healthcare related work, or have personal experience as parents, homemakers or in caring for elderly or infirmed members of their own families. Whatever the case, you can be assured that they share a strong dedication to their work and a real compassion toward those needing their care.
We charge a $250 application fee, which is good for 18 months of reviewing the files of our highly qualified applicants. However, we fully expect you to select the right caregiver within the first month of contacting us. Our fee is 20% of the caregiver’s first annual salary. However, since the health of many of our seniors is so delicate, we are happy to take this payment quarterly until paid-with termination of payment possible at anytime that a caregiver ceases to be needed.
What follows are suggestions, based on what our many live-in caregivers have shared with us over the years. Keep in mind that acknowledging the need for live-in care and some of the changes that it may involve, might be upsetting to the senior, at least initially. By working with your caregiver, family members and friends can ease much of the difficulty and accomplish needed tasks in a manner that minimizes the stress felt by the person needing aid.
The person to be cared for may resist or deny the need for live-in assistance. If so, it is important that family or friends be on hand to help with this important transition.
Make sure the caregiver’s room is cleared of all family belongings and is ready to serve as their own space within the home. We strongly suggest providing TV and stereo or radio and phone extension in the caregiver’s bedroom. The room should be furnished with a bed and a good mattress, a dresser and a chair at minimum.
Home should be clean and in good repair. Hire a cleaner, if necessary, to have the house as clean and organized as possible for your caregiver’s arrival.
Have someone take the time to show your caregiver around the neighborhood, town and outlying areas. This will help her/him feel comfortable about venturing out when time permits. Acquainting your caregiver with the surrounding environment also helps her or him plan outings and activities for your loved-one if appropriate.
Caregiver should have an adequate budget to buy food and household items.
If person to be cared for cannot be left alone for even a portion of an hour, it is important that family, friends or respite workers be scheduled. Everyone needs relief time when they can leave the premises to exercise, keep personal affairs in order and to simply recharge themselves for their emotionally demanding work.
It is important that the caregiver has contact information and access to any doctors or other medical professionals the person under their care is seeing. Caregivers should be encouraged to communicate with the doctor whenever needed. A full disclosure of any and all medical conditions and diagnosis’s are necessary to allow the caregiver to provide the best possible service.
The very best relationships develop when people take time to communicate. Encourage the caregiver to discuss working conditions with you if something is amiss.
Caregivers thrive when they feel their work is appreciated and that salary increases are possible. An end-of-the year bonus is thanks for a job well done and encouragement to stay on.
Decline of health in the person requiring care will increase your caregiver’s workload, especially if there is sleep disruption. Make use of agency and community services that are available in your community, such as those offered through Medicare. You should be prepared to raise the salary of the live-in caregiver as decline sets in and his or her workload increases.
A caregiver’s salary should not be docked if the person needing care is hospitalized. Of course, if the hospital stay is lengthy, some negotiation of pay is needed.
In the event of the passing on or relocation of the person needing care, it is customary to provide severance pay to the caregiver. We suggest two weeks to one month’s pay. Also, the caregiver may be asked to stay on until the estate is settled. They might be assigned to organize and prepare the home for eventual sale or transfer to heirs, and/or to provide security of the home.
Finding and retaining trustworthy, loyal and efficient individuals to staff your private home, ranch, resort or estate can be a real challenge. Private service positions demand extreme flexibility, excellent interpersonal skills and a working knowledge of any and all aspects of caring for a fine residence, ranch or resort property. There will be many long hours filled with tasks that range from the mundane to the Herculean. A domestic professional might be required to be, “All things to all people” in the household; planning a formal dinner, doing housekeeping tasks and driving the children to school one day, taking the family pets to the groomer and purchasing a gift for a business client the next. Understanding the operation of a state-of-the-art high-tech home is essential in most placements. Anticipating you and your family’s needs and the on-going care requirements of a beautiful property is, of course, the goal.
At Estate Staffing by Heartland, we offer the most comprehensive staffing available. Over the last two decades, we have successfully placed hundreds of dedicated, skilled and hardworking nannies, housekeepers, private chefs, butlers, valets, gardeners, majordomos, estate managers and other domestic professionals in fine homes, estates and resorts.
Our job is to provide you with files of qualified applicants for the position you wish to fill. When we say “we take you beyond the resume,” we mean it. There are many wonderful applicants willing to accept our scrutiny, all the way back to the beginning of their work career. Chemistry is everything. For that reason, once you narrow our many choices down to one or two, you should bring them in for an on-site interview. Costs of transporting these applicants and supplying them w/ housing for a night or more, are borne by you. You may only need to spend one hour w/ said applicants to verify they are the right candidates for you.
We charge a $250 application fee, which is good for 18 months of reviewing files. Frankly, we expect you to select from our large applicant pool within the first month of registering with Heartland. After hiring an applicant through Heartland, our final fee is due: 20% of first year’s salary. Our obligation to you is to replace free of charge, for any reason, within the first two months. We are also happy to extend the guarantee period if you have any concerns during that time period. Replacement after our guarantee period becomes quite nominal and we double the guarantee period. Knowing that we present applicants with no hidden agenda; persons willing and able to do the work you require should assure you that this process is almost always successful. If it is not, you have the right to restart the process, at any time. You will be reviewing files of people with a strong work ethic through Heartland.
Because you want to find and maintain the highest caliber employee(s) possible to staff your home and because you only want to go through this hiring process once, we offer the following suggestions, developed from information household and estate employees have shared with us over the years:
Overzealous micro-management by an employer is the number one reason household staff members cite for quitting their positions. This is closely followed by excessive over-time work hours (on a continual basis) and/or an attitude of disdain communicated from the employer. You must be satisfied w/ the work of your employees, but it is sometimes a fine line between checking on them and chiding them. Trust your judgment. As a manager your goal is to be fair and reasonable while expecting and encouraging a high level of performance. Remember, your employee(s) have chosen to enter the service profession and they do want to deliver for you. You can make sure this is possible by, a) Having a fairly accurate understanding of the time it takes to accomplish the tasks you require them to complete and, b) Being open to hiring extra local help or outside service people for special occasions, if needed. Additional part or full-time help might also be required if the day-to- day needs of your household exceed the capacity of your current staff.
If you are providing quarters (and it is customary to do so in this profession), ensure that they are clean and in good repair prior to your new employee(s) arrival and move-in. If you are employing a couple, they are unlikely to remain happy long-term in undersized or inadequate accommodations, such as a single small bedroom. While we screen our domestic, estate, ranch and resort couples for a high-level of compatibility and the ability to work well together, any couple needs adequate space and privacy to work at their best. Consider long-term contentment when arranging staff amenities such as housing, and you will definitely improve your long-term staff retention.
Clarify. Issue written instructions and/or spend the time with your new employee(s) and communicate your specific needs, preferences (i.e., culinary likes and dislikes, wardrobe care, preferred order of tasks) and routines prior to their assumption of duties. Be very clear about your strongest likes or dislikes. In areas not as critical to your peace of mind, allowing your employee to employ their judgment and individual talents in the completion of their tasks, can help keep them engaged and dedicated to their work long-term. If your home or estate does not have a manual of operation and procedures, consider allowing your new employee(s) a reasonable amount of time (5 to 8months) in which to create one for you. Such a guide can be an invaluable tool in the care of your property and providing high-quality service to you and your family. It should include information regarding your personal needs and preferences as well as those of other family members and regular guests. It should also outline routine care and functional operation of each and every component of your residence and grounds.
While domestic professionals pride themselves on their adaptability and flexible, service-oriented attitude, it is still important to notify your staff of changes in schedules, (both yours and theirs) routines or special needs as soon as possible. This is not only a courtesy that your staff members will appreciate, it while also help insure that any changes can be incorporated smoothly while maintaining seamless service.
Insure that the proper equipment is in place for your employee to efficiently do the work you require. Items such as a top-of-the-line vacuum cleaner (ideally, one for each living level) can make a big difference in both results and time effectiveness when caring for your home. Some tasks, such as cleaning high or oversized windows are better hired out to a vendor who has the appropriate ladders, scaffolds and other special equipment required to do the job correctly and safely.
Household and estate managers are salaried professionals and it can be very tempting to load on the hours during busy periods without giving additional pay and very easy to forget to provide compensatory time-off later, when things slow down. In a word: Don’t. Anything over 50 hours per week should be acknowledged and compensated with either a bonus or extra time off, when events permit. Salary should reflect compensation for a 40 plus hour week to be in compliance w/ U.S. labor law. End of the year bonuses, 401Ks and insurance coverage can really encourage a lasting employer/employee relationship. Yearly paid vacations (at an agreed upon time convenient to both of you) should allow for two weeks of rest and regeneration for your employees-these can usually be split if you cannot afford their absence for more than 7 days. Estate Staffing by Heartland maintains a roster of qualified and screened applicants to fill-in on a temporary basis, if needed.
Maintain a productive working relationship with your domestic employees through regularly scheduled staff meetings. While you may think you are communicating sufficiently by providing them with regular instructions and feedback, remember that they also need a time to share their concerns, ideas, and suggestions with YOU. It is important you schedule times to listen to them. Spending a little of your time in this way can pay big dividends through increased efficiency, employee loyalty and long-term job satisfaction within your staff.
Remember that domestic service is a REAL CAREER and it must be respected as such. Paying staff members ‘Under the table,’ is a thing of the past. Providing full benefits and incentives is as important in this profession as it is to any other. Household and estate employees are directly involved in helping you maintain a comfortable and gracious estate lifestyle. If personal loyalty, a willingness to go the ‘extra mile’ and long-term, career commitment are qualities you seek in your domestic staff, providing a competitive benefit package to the household and estate professionals you employ makes good sense, as it would in any field. We also urge you to use the quarterly evaluation form provided by Heartland, so that your employees will know where they succeed and where they need to improve.
Remember too that no one is exempt from the occasional bad day. A good working relationship between household staff and employer, like any professional relationship, requires occasional sensitivity and tact on everyone’s part. Counting to ten, walking away or simply cutting an employee a bit of slack when they are having a difficult time, can do much toward maintaining a harmonious, productive and long-term employer/staff relationship. Occasionally, ask yourself if the work load, and the amount of time allowed to complete expected duties continue to be realistic, or have changes in your residence, family or lifestyle pushed the limits of your current staffing level? If so, it may be time to consider additional staffing.