Domestic attendant

Domestic attendant
Domestic attendant

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.

Domestic employment

Domestic employment
Domestic employment

Trustworthy, efficient and loving live-in nannies are to be cherished and encouraged to remain as such. The following suggestions are based on what nannies have shared with us over the years. I share them with you in an effort to make your experience a caring and rewarding one for you and your children.

We strongly emphasize a commitment of one year and the first week or two may be crucial to your nanny’s decision to stay with you. Take the time to show your nanny around the town, introduce her or him to other nannies in the neighborhood. Help your nanny get her/his bearings. Provide a map of your locale and brochures of things to do in the area. Expect to show the routes around town more than once. If possible, do not put her/him to work the first day. Instead, make it a celebration!
We hope you have a regular housekeeper. But if you do not, at least hire a cleaner to have the house as neat and organized as possible for your nanny’s arrival. Your nanny’s room should not be full of your things. Clean out the closet, have plenty of dresser space, a mirror, a bulletin board for photos and put a TV and stereo in the room so your nanny truly feels this is a personal space. A private phone line for your nanny is a plus.
Schedule as much time as possible alone for your nanny with the children so a rapport can be established with them. This bonding may take time to develop. Parental backup must be available to ensure that the children treat your nanny with respect. Successful placements most often occur where the children are aware that their new nanny has the full support of the parents.
Most families that employ live-in nannies are now providing a car exclusively for the nanny’s use. Parents with small children do not stay at home without access to a vehicle. Don’t expect that of your nanny. You can put mileage restrictions on the car but your nanny should have the right to drive during free time. Be sure to have proper insurance coverage.
Make room in the pantry and refrigerator for special foods your nanny may want to buy with her/his own money. A small fridge in your nanny’s living space is a real plus.
Ideally, you will install a private phone for your nanny to use. She/he would pay for personal long distance charges. A nice perk is to pay $10 to $20 per month toward these charges so your nanny can stay in touch with family and friends.
Nannies may occasionally enjoy having a friend stay over on a day off. If this is agreeable with you, request that your nanny make prior arrangements with you. If any family comes to visit, you will be greatly treasured if you allow them to stay in your home.
Thoroughly instruct your nanny about all security precautions taken in your home. Nannies should never let in repairmen without your prior approval. Tell your nanny who is coming and when. If anyone shows up unexpectedly, the nanny should call you at your place of work before letting him or her enter your home.
Most nannies are young women. They may be sensitive to kidding and certainly to mockery. You may be moody in the privacy of your home but if you make your nanny the brunt of this moodiness on a continual basis, you may be left without the childcare you need. Take your nanny out for ice cream after dinner once in a while, if not for a full-course dinner.
The very best relationships develop when people take time to communicate. Encourage the discussion of working conditions with you if something seems amiss. Criticize gently. We recommend regular meetings where all aspects of your nanny’s and your expectations can be discussed openly and fairly. A wise employer will schedule a time and place where there will be no interruptions.
Nannies thrive if they feel salary raises are possible. An end-of-year bonus is an effective way to insure that your nanny will complete her contract. A 401k is also appropriate.
Since nannies are salaried, it can be tempting to heap on the hours without giving additional pay. The salary you pay should reflect up to a 50 hour week (with dollar value of housing/vehicle use and total salary reflecting overtime to comply w/ 40 hour week Labor Law rules). Anything over 50 hours should be compensated with extra pay or extra time off. Be careful that you do not increase your nanny’s workload without also increasing her salary. Be sure the workload does not distract from your nanny’s primary responsibility: the proper care of your children. Children will thrive from the creative energy of a nanny not drained by too many domestic chores.
As an employer, you need to be clear as to your special pet peeves, like clutter in the kitchen, etc. In areas not as crucial to your peace of mind, allow your nanny to show individuality as much as possible. Be realistic about the busy hands of small children. Expecting your house to look like no children live there when you arrive home is unreasonable.
Have respect for your nanny’s plans. Avoid asking for last minute babysitting. Your nanny may not tell you it is inconvenient, but frequent babysitting may cause resentment. Ideally, you will go over your schedule with your nanny on a monthly and weekly basis so everyone knows what to expect.
The best employer/nanny relationships are a careful blend of mutual politeness, friendliness and respect for privacy. We encourage nannies to be flexible with their employers regarding hours of work as the careers of their employers are often demanding. However, employers need to understand a nanny’s need to interact with peers during off-hours and need to trust that plans for free time will be respected.
Bad days happen to all of us. Count to ten, walk away, call the agency if you must. But cut your nanny some slack if she/he is a bit “off”. Some nannies are not assertive enough to tell you when their plate is full. Instead, they do a job slowdown. Observe, and be aware of the pressures your nanny may be feeling.
Nannies tell us that when work is piled up for them when they return from their two days off, it can be stressful and discouraging. Perhaps a “Monday morning bonus” can be waiting for your nanny to compensate when extra work has accumulated. This work should always be child-related unless you are paying extra for other domestic work your nanny has consented to do.
Any other “perks” you can provide may insure a long-lasting relationship. Creating your nanny’s own space with all the creature comforts is a given. A membership to the local Y or fitness club is always good for mental health and physical well-being. An extra trip home during the year, even a weekend at a local ski area or tickets to a concert or play will show gratitude on the part of the employer. Nannies should be provided health insurance. There are companies that specialize in health insurance for nannies and the rates are very low. Nannies should get at least some of the state/federal holidays off with pay, or other days off as compensation. Allowing time for a college class or two and even paying some or all of the tuition is a wonderful perk.
Unless you are specifically hiring a live-in maid or housekeeper, be very aware of the domestic chores you expect. Nannies who are wonderful with children may bristle at parents who will not make their own bed, carry their own plate to the sink after meals or who entertain and leave the clean-up to the nanny. Try to keep the domestic chores as child-related as possible. Employers who truly want maid service may get some of it from the nanny, but should expect to pay more . Some nannies love to be used as personal assistants, for shopping, errands, scheduling travel, supervising other domestic help, perhaps assisting in your business endeavors. It adds variety to the day, and if children are in school, it makes sense to utilize your nanny for other duties. At this point, your nanny becomes more of a household manager/personal assistant and pay should reflect that. Paying under the table is a thing of the past. This is a REAL career and the employer needs to treat it as such.
Frequent marital arguments within hearing range of a live-in nanny are unsettling. We have had nannies quit because of this alone.
Curfews for nannies are not a good idea. Obviously, you need to step in if your nanny is coming in at all hours and is not getting up in the morning. Please do not abuse the excuse that you need to set your alarm system. If you trust your nanny with your children, you can trust your nanny with the code to the alarm system.
Remember, the first couple of weeks can be somewhat rough as the nanny adjusts to a new culture (yours) and your children adjust to your nanny. Keep the lines of communication open. Encourage your nanny to call us, or you call us. We can provide you a great service by helping your nanny communicate concerns to you.
If a nanny is working long hours for you during the week to cover your work time and commute, look into finding other coverage for nights and weekends. Check with a school counselor or child development teacher. A warm and competent high school senior or college student may be a real boon to keeping your permanent nanny from burn out.
Many nannies and families form bonds that last a lifetime. This is how it should be. Life is often less than perfect, but never think you are the winner if you manage to keep a nanny on the job through intimidation. Children deserve a nanny who loves the work. You can make the workplace delightful or miserable, depending on your skills as a humane employer.

Domestic Placement

Domestic Placement
Domestic Placement

Your estate could be run by one skilled and experienced person, possibly hiring local live-out help to assist, or it may require a fully staffed live-in team. We can provide for the largest of estates as well as the smallest.

The caliber of our estate and ranch managers is quite impressive. We have applicants with years of experience who have worked in the finest homes in the world, served the “movers and shakers” of our time and have a tremendous work ethic and the graciousness and elegance to provide beautiful service.

Estate managers are screened for their ability to do the job with grace and poise, their emotional and intellectual stability, and their commitment to long term employment in the field of in-home service.

Consider hiring a married couple without minor children if you have a large house and acreage to care for. The goal is to keep down the traffic of people who are on your property at any given time yet to keep the property in mint condition! We have wonderful couples who love working together and can provide you with years of service.

Ranch managers are especially a pleasure for founder and President Karen Walker Ryan to screen as she and her husband live on the family ranch at Missoula, Montana. She knows what is needed in a fine ranch manager and is impressed with the caliber of person who is registered with Heartland for this type of work. Heartland ranch managers have years of experience and are skilled at all aspects of running a large and productive ranch.

Note: Temporary assistance for all in-home positions always available through Heartland.

Salary range: Whatever salary you pay should reflect the hours in the work week; Everything over that should be compensated with extra pay or extra time off during weeks that are not so hectic in your home. Nannies must be flexible, and these wonderful, cherished employees are there for your support–but don’t burn them out! If you must work long hours at your career, use your nanny for that coverage and hire a local live-out for evening or weekend coverage. Many nannies are happy to do the extra coverage, but the employer should acknowledge it as such and reimburse accordingly–or you may be looking for a new nanny just as you thought things were going so well! Local live-outs can best be found through the Child Development teachers in the local Home Economics departments of community colleges.

Note: If you need far more than 50-55 hours per week on a consistent basis, talk to us! If the compensation and “perks” are adequate, the applicants who are qualified for such a demanding but interesting position will step forward.

Through the years we have developed co-brokering arrangements with referral services around the country (and overseas) that we respect and trust. These arrangements assure you of a good selection of candidates for any staffing needs. Your confidentiality is always protected by Heartland!

The salary range for beginning nannies with good, strong childcare experience but no previous live-in experience is $400 to $500 net per week. Experienced nannies earn $500 to $1,000 net and up per week depending on the hours and number of children.

A nanny should be treated as a professional. Put together the most complete package you can for your nanny, i.e. health insurance, two week paid vacation per year, perhaps an extra trip home during the year, use of a car (ideally exclusive use of a car). Providing time for some higher education and perhaps paying some tuition could insure the longevity you need from your nanny.