How to find the right caregiver for your kids

resizenov4

Finding the right caregiver for you family can be tricky. You need someone who meets all your needs, has the right qualifications, and also gets along with your kids. The hiring process can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the six steps below, you will be well on your way to finding the perfect sitter.

Step One: Figure out what you want

Before you start the process of meeting and hiring a caregiver for your kids, you should think about what you need. Do you want a sitter with a driver’s license to pick the kids up from school and drive them to their soccer practice, swimming class, and piano lessons? Do you need a caregiver with experience working with children with special needs? Do you want a sitter who can help with French homework?

Sit down with your partner, or anyone else who shares the childcare duties with you, and sort out your priorities. Write down your needs, as well as expectations, to make sure you are on the same page. It will be much easier to find a suitable sitter once you understand what it is you’re looking for.

Step Two: Browse your options

Get on BookJane and start looking through the variety of qualified and experienced caregivers available for hire. It used to be such a hassle to find quality childcare; contacting friends and family to let them know you need a sitter, searching through websites and agencies hoping to find a suitable person, reading through endless resumes hoping one will have all the right qualifications. Thanks to BookJane, the entire process is now super easy.

Download the app, choose any certificates, diplomas, languages, and years of experience you deemed necessary in step one, and then browse through the sitters who match your criteria. Take your time to fully read each profile to get a feel for the caregiver’s personality. Double check their credentials and make sure they provide the services you need. Then proceed to step three.

Step Three: Schedule an interview

Once you have found a few sitters who fit your needs, contact them for in-person interviews. Your kids are your most prized possessions, and now is your chance to meet with professionals who understand your needs. Have a list of questions prepared ahead to ask the candidates, making sure to note how each person answers to discuss with your partner afterwards.

First impressions can be so important, but keep in mind that you don’t have to make up your mind after a single meeting. Plan a second meeting, or even just a phone chat, to see if the sitter is right for you. And remember to interview more than one person to provide comparison and a variety of options.

Step Four: Have a meet and greet

After you’ve narrowed your search down, have the remaining candidate (or candidates) meet with your kids. This can be a quick meeting, just to see if everyone gets along, or you could plan to have everyone interact for an hour or so to see how things go. This is also a great way to hire more than one sitter; parents often find that hiring two or three different sitters gives the kids an opportunity to enjoy different personalities.

Each caregiver will have their own unique strengths, so you could even have one favourite for helping out on date night (a sitter who knows how to plan a night of fun for the kids), one for excursions (a sitter with more experience, a driver’s license, and the ability to keep kids calm in crowded public settings), and one for day-to-day help (light housekeeping, homework help, food preparation, etc.). It would be nice to find one person who meets all your needs, but it can work just as well to spread things out. Plus, it’s always nice to have more than one sitter you know and trust, in case of last minute appointments or emergencies.

Step Five: Do a trial run

After you’ve met the sitter, and the kids have all met the sitter, it’s time to give them some space. Go grocery shopping, see a movie, or even just lock yourself away in the home office and get some work done. Let your new sitter have some alone time with the kids to see if they play well together. This will give your kids a chance to come out of their shells, and will allow the caregiver to find out if your family is right for them also.

The optimum trial length is either a morning or afternoon, depending on when is best for your schedule. A weekend is usually the best because you will have more free time and be available before and after the trial to have a chat with the sitter and the kids. Don’t expect too much from this first session, just have them spend some time together at home.

After the trial is over, ask the sitter a few questions about how everything went. Find out if they enjoyed themselves (in an attempt to see if they like your kids), or if any problems arose (in an attempt to see how they handle sticky situations). Also make sure to ask the kids how things went to get their perspective on the new sitter. It’s not vital for your kids to love them from the start because it’s more important for you to trust your sitter, but it would be a great bonus if the kids like their new caregiver.

Step Six: Don’t be afraid to start over

If you’ve gone through steps three through five and realize things just aren’t working out, don’t worry; you can just start over. It can take time to find the perfect sitter for your kids, and there’s no need to rush the process. It might seem harsh to tell a sitter they aren’t right for your family after having spent time with them, but she/he will understand because they are professional caregivers.

Go back through your notes and figure out where you went wrong the first time around. Learn from your mistakes and update your priorities. BookJane has so many amazing and qualified caregivers available right now, you’ll have no problem finding one that meets your needs and is

Why home care can be more beneficial than a nursing home

img_6421

When it becomes your responsibility to take care of your aging parents, choosing between hiring a caregiver or moving them to a senior care facility can be very difficult. Due to serious health issues and declining mental faculties, sometimes the decision is made for you. However, in most cases, your parents just need a little more help than you can give them.

Living at home and maintaining a semblance of independence can be very good for morale, and often means your parents will try harder to take care of themselves and stay healthy. Forcing them to leave their home can cause a rift in your relationship, and might leave your parent depressed or feeling hopeless. They are comfortable and happy at home, so why disrupt their lives?

Unfortunately, you don’t have the time (or energy) to constantly care for your parents. You tried your best to stop by as often as possible to help tidy, make repairs, and spend quality time with your parents. However, things have now progressed beyond your means and you can’t keep up. Instead of opting for a senior home, have an experienced, qualified, and enthusiastic senior caregiver pick up the slack for you. And if you’re still not sure how to make the final decision, here are five reasons why at-home care can be more beneficial than a senior home.

  1. Less disruptions

It is a major hassle to downsize your parents from the house they have lived in for many years, to a one- or two-room suite at a retirement home. Not only will you have to organize and throw away an entire life’s worth of items, you will then have to pack up what remains and move everything to a new location.

And it’s not just the moving that is disruptive. The life your parent built will also be disrupted, and for elderly people, this can have a negative outcome. Without the comforts of home, and their regular routine, they will feel lost, which can cause anxiety, depression, and anti-social behavior. If your parent only needs minor assistance, there is no reason to uproot them. Hire a caregiver and let them continue to enjoy their retirement.

  1. Independence and Privacy

Moving an aging parent to assisted living or a nursing home will greatly reduce their independence and privacy. For parents who are still able to do most things themselves (or many things themselves) this will devalue their sense of worth. Suddenly they will have to spend all their time in shared spaces with people they don’t know.

If your parents stay at home, they will be able to maintain their independence, help out whenever possible, and continue living the life they have built for themselves.

  1. Routines and Comfort

Routines can be beneficial for seniors, especially those with any memory loss of dementia. Familiar surroundings help them feel safe, and will comfort them during any moments of confusion. Also, everything is set up to their specifications, making it easier for them to take care of themselves when you or the caregiver are not around.

Enjoying the comforts of home can also mean your parent will be more willing to get out and socialize. Socializing is very important for seniors, especially those who are living on their own. If your parent is going to stay at home, you can suggest an alternative such as senior classes, exercise programs, or community events. It will be much easier to get out and socialize if your parent can later return to the comfort of his or her own home.

  1. Affordability

There is a huge cost difference between at-home care, assisted living, and a nursing home. There may come a time when your parent needs help all day, every day, making at-home care the more expensive option, but for seniors who need minor assistance, or even a few hours of help each day, hiring a caregiver is a more viable solution.

At-home care also gives you more flexibility, which means you won’t have to pay unless you need the help. Using the BookJane app, you can schedule a caregiver to help your parents while you’re at work, drive them to appointments, remind them to take medications, help with light housekeeping, provide exercise routines, or even just come over to sit and talk with your parents when you can’t be there.

  1. Convenience

This is another major reason why home care is more beneficial than a senior home; it’s as easy as using the BookJane app. The convenience of having your choice of caregiver right at your fingertips means you won’t have to worry if you are busy at work, or won’t have time to stop by your parent’s house for a few days. Just hire a caregiver to pop over and help out with whatever your parent needs.

You can also customize the type of care, depending on what your parents need. Unlike a retirement facility, at-home help gives them one-on-one care that will ensure your parent can age in place, while still getting all the help they need. The caregiver will make life healthier, happier, and more active for your parent, and in turn will make things easier on you.

 

Halloween for Parents: How to Take a Break and Enjoy Yourself

halloweenparty

Halloween can be a scary time to be a parent, and not just because of all the extra ghosts and vampires running around; Halloween encourages kids to wander the streets by themselves, cross the street in the dark, and accept candy from strangers. It can be easy to let your helicopter instincts take over when you’re restricting candy intake, vetoing costume ideas, and insisting on going to door-to-door with your twelve-year-old.

Halloween doesn’t have to bring out the worst in you, and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to be the bad guy. Sure, it’s up to you to make sure the kids know about the possible dangers of trick-or-treating, but it’s also up to you to make sure they have an awesome time. And don’t forget about yourself—costume parties are just as fun (if not more fun!) when you’re an adult. Here are a few tips to help you relax, keep the kids safe, and have some fun of your own:

  1. Don’t analyze costume ideas

When it comes to Halloween, kids are encouraged to get creative and be anything or anyone they want for one night only. If your daughter is a huge baseball fan and wants to go as her favourite Blue Jay, then by all means, she should—beard and all. Alternatively, if she wants to go as a princess, it doesn’t mean she isn’t also strong and independent. And when your son decides to dress up like Lady Gaga, then you probably won’t be able to talk him out of it.

Kids don’t see the world like we do; they just see the endlessly fun possibilities of dress-up. And so should you. Forget gender norms and expectations and just let the kids have a good time. Watching them smile as they put on the costume from their imagination will be totally worth it.

  1. Teach the kids to be safe

As long as you make sure your kids are clear about the bad things that sometimes happen on Halloween, you can probably be assured of their safety. Teach them to only cross the street at traffic lights and cross-walks, never get separated from their group of friends, don’t go anywhere with a stranger, and bring home any suspiciously wrapped (or not wrapped at all) candy for inspection.

However, all kids are different and some are more prone to trouble than others, so use precaution, but always try to trust that your kids know right from wrong, especially because you are the one who taught them.

  1. Take a step back

This can be the hardest part about Halloween—letting the kids head out by themselves. When they are little, you will have to be with them all the time, but once they reach a certain age, they will expect a little more freedom. You can test it out by letting them trick-or-treat with their friends on your street first, and then have them come back to check in before deciding whether they are ready to stray further from home.

If you feel like you have to accompany your kids, that’s fine too, but make sure you’re still giving them some space. Take a step back and wait on the sidewalk while they visit a few houses on their own. Hovering around them all night will just make them resentful, and it might also be embarrassing if their friends are around. The best way to enjoy yourself is to invite another parent to come along so you can chat and have a few laughs while the kids fill up on sugar.

  1. Get into the spirit of the season

The best way to make memories with your kids is to make sure Halloween is fun for everyone. If you have small kids, prepare some themed craft activities or baking to do together. And don’t forget about pumpkin carving; kids love getting their hands gooey and designing their own scary face. If your kids are older, get excited together by watching scary movies or telling ghost stories.

Don’t be afraid to get silly, and show off your weird side. Kids love watching their parents have fun, so even if they seem embarrassed by your rendition of Monster Mash, they will find your happiness infectious and won’t help but smile. And Halloween is supposed to be scary, so don’t hold back too much. If you want to jump out wearing a scary mask, do it! They will appreciate the effort, and it will let them experience fear in a safe environment.

  1. Get out and have some fun of your own

Having your own Halloween fun is still possible even after you’re a parent. After spending all that time making the perfect costumes for your kids, ensuring their safety, and making sure they don’t eat all the candy in one night, you deserve a break. Hire a sitter from BookJane and get out of the house for your own night of spooky delight.

BookJane sitters are qualified and experienced child caregivers, and they love what they do. Book your sitter in advance to enjoy a date night, or use the app if you get a last minute invite to a costume party. If you’re super busy, you could hire a sitter to take the kids trick-or-treating for you, or if one of your kids has a cold, have a sitter stay home and give out candy with your little monster while you take the other kids out. The point is, you don’t have to do everything yourself, and Halloween isn’t just for kids. Get out there and have some fun of your own!

Staying social is good for your health: Why senior caregivers are so important

resizeoct24

No matter how old you are, being social is an important part of life. In fact, staying connected and participating in a social circle can actually prolong your life. Research has shown a direct link between declining mental and physical health and a loss of close relationships, especially as we age. If you stay in touch with friends and family, and get out of the house to visit and socialize whenever you are able, you are more likely to be happy and healthy.

Unfortunately, social tendencies end up dwindling as we age, despite our best intentions. After retirement you no longer have a reason to leave the house every day, and it becomes an effort to keep in touch with those coworkers you used to spend the majority of your time with. Instead of eight hours a day, five days a week, you are lucky to meet up with a former coworker even once a week for coffee.

On top of the loss of colleagues, the number of friends and family members you see on a regular basis will also start to decrease in your senior years. Friends move away, death and illness take hold, and your children and grandchildren are busy with their own lives. Suddenly your full social schedule has diminished and it’s hard to feel motivated to meet new people so late in life.

Loneliness, isolation, and antisocial lifestyles have negative effects on health. First of all, being social means you get out more, which leads to walking and other forms of physical exercise. Second of all, mental health relies on happiness, which is much easier to achieve with the help of loved ones. Social stimulation on a daily basis is one of the easiest ways to fend off depression, stay active, and live longer, but what if there just isn’t anyone else around?

Luckily, there is no reason for a senior to be alone. There are amazing senior communities designed specifically to encourage and maximize friendship, connection, and participation in later years. For some people, retirement homes and senior communities are just what the doctor ordered.

However, not everyone is a social butterfly, and not everyone is willing to leave their home just to make a few new friends. And you shouldn’t have to. That’s where senior caregivers come in; they can visit your house as often as you need, and aside from light housekeeping and meal preparation, the caregiver will also provide some much-needed companionship.

Hiring a senior caregiver might seem like a difficult process, either for yourself, or for your aging parent, but thanks to BookJane, you have access to tons of qualified, friendly, and experienced caregivers right at your fingertips. And because each caregiver has his/her own unique personality, you’ll be able to find somebody perfectly suited to your needs.

Would you like somebody to help you learn Spanish, discuss your favourite books, accompany you on a stroll through the park, or simply provide a little intellectual stimulation? BookJane will help you find a caregiver that meets your needs, and before long, you’ll be feeling happier and healthier. Senior caregivers are so important, not just because they are there to help, but because they love what they do and will make a difference in your life.

 

 

 

 

Meet Sherrie, Our Featured Caregiver

me

Question: Tell me about yourself?

Answer: I am 32 years old, a current university student studying for my masters in Child Forensic Psychology and Law; I’ve been working with children and youth for the past 8 years in child care, education, and social services.  I enjoy working in the community and pursing my passion in creating pathways to help others.

Question: What are the main responsibilities of caregiver?

Answer: The main duties of a child caregiver is to provide a safe, clean and conducive environment for the children, creating fun enticing activities that children can learn from (programming), preparing meals , potty training, and maintaining healthy relationships with the children’s family.

Question: Why did you decide to become a caregiver?

Answer: I became a caregiver because I love working with people and helping others, iI thoroughly enjoy enlisting those who are in need, and developing skills into children that they will carry out into their future lives.

Questions: What are you hobbies when you are not working?

Answer: When I am not working , I enjoy movies, eating out, and traveling around the world.

Question: What is your most favourite thing about your job?

Answer: Putting a smile on children’s faces, and working with the next generation.

Question: How did you get into the caregiving field?

Answer: After I graduated college, one of my first jobs was working in a daycare, and I’ve continued every since.

Question: What is your caregiving “motto”?

Answer: My motto is “placing the fingerprints and footsteps of the next generation on to their path”.

 

 

Why all single parents need a sitter

Single parents are amazing; they juggle careers, relationships, and their kids all by themselves. They wake up early and stay up late, they help with homework and drive kids to soccer practice, they invite the neighbours over for a play-date, they prepare three healthy meals each day and make sure all teeth are brushed, and to top it off—they are at work all day long. They are strong, dedicated caregivers who deserve not only our admiration, but also a moment to themselves.

Many single parents rely on their support system of friends and family to help them when they need a break or have to work late. The chaotically scheduled day of a single parent revolves around keeping the kids healthy and happy at all times. Maybe a grandparent picks them up from school a few times a week, maybe they head to a nearby friend’s house on PA days, or maybe the kids are part of the after-school programs. No matter what, the single parent is responsible for the whereabouts of their kids all day long.

Even if you have a strong support system, there will be moments when, as a single parent, you will need somebody else to watch your kids. It might be because you need a break, it might be a work obligation, or it might even be a date. Single parents are allowed to live a life of their own outside of being a caregiver—in fact, it’s encouraged. A parent who is happy and (somewhat) well rested is going to have more patience and energy to support their family. And that’s where BookJane comes in.

Book Jane knows that every single parent needs a sitter on speed dial, in case of an emergency, so they just took it one step further. The BookJane app provides endless options right at your fingertips. All of the childcare staff are qualified Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE) or Early Childhood Assistants (ECA), making it easy for you to find a competent and certified sitter, even last minute. You can find a sitter for a single evening, for a whole weekend, or to help out on a regular basis.

Hiring a sitter is different from having a friend of family member watch the kids for several reasons. First of all, you are paying them so they will go above and beyond to make sure things go smoothly. They will also provide some meal prep and tidying so you won’t come home to a huge mess (unlike that time your brother watched the kids…). They have ample experience working with kids, so they know how to help with homework, how to follow a schedule, and how to handle kids with all types of personality.

As a single parent, you might not always have as much quality time with the kids as you would like. It would be amazing to take them to the park and run around with them, and then drive them to their swimming lesson and watch the entire time, while also making sure to prepare a healthy meal, clean the house, get any extra work of your own done, and manage to stay in touch with a friend or two. Even when you’re a super parent, you can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t have to. Hiring a sitter will help ensure that the kids get all the attention they need, while you can make sure everything else is taken care of without losing your mind. You could even hire a sitter to watch one of your children while you spend quality time with another. Whatever you need, the sitter is there to help.

Another wonderful thing about a sitter is that they love kids and want to play with them, which means that active kids will get the exercise they need, while indoor kids will have a patient new Lego companion. And while a family member might offer to look after the kids if you have an appointment, they might not be as willing to come over if you want to go out with your friends on a weeknight. A sitter doesn’t care why you are going out because that’s your own business. They just want to know what time the kids should be asleep and if there’s any homework left to finish.

Even if you have a regular childcare provider, it’s nice to throw a new face into the mix every now and again. Sometimes, it will happen because your sitter isn’t available, or maybe you think the kids would benefit from meeting somebody new. No matter the reason, BookJane lets you mix things up without having to take any risks. Every “Jane” is reliable, qualified, and ready to get to know you and your kids.

The relationship between a single parent and their sitter can often blossom into something special. They are like your co-pilot, there to take over the controls when you need them. They are the Robin to your Batman, the Chewbacca to your Han Solo, the Hermione to your Harry Potter, the Anna to your Elsa. A sitter is not there to help a single parent do a good job, they are there because the single parent IS already doing a good job. Knowing when to ask for help is an important part of being a single parent, and having an app like BookJane just made parenting even easier.

How to talk to your parents about hiring a senior caregiver: 8 helpful tips

Senior Care

Being responsible for your parent’s health can be stressful and scary, especially when they get to the point where it’s unsafe for them to be alone. This stage in life is almost like a role reversal, putting you in the position of decision-maker, and your elderly parent in the role of dependent, leaving everyone confused and on edge.

The best way to ensure that everyone is safe and happy is to communicate. To help you have the senior care discussion with your parents, we put together eight helpful steps to follow during the process. Take things slow, talk everything through, and remember that this situation is difficult for everyone.

  1. Think ahead

It can be extremely helpful to speak with your parents before the need arises to hire a caregiver, that way, your parent can explain what they are hoping for, and you can help them understand your limits. Sometimes the idea of home care doesn’t come up until the last possible moment, or until it’s already necessary, which can lead to arguments between you and your parents; however, putting off the conversation is never the right answer.

When it comes to speaking with your parents about hiring a caregiver, the best possible thing you can do is listen. Immediately giving your advice or opinion about their life and health will only make them defensive, so let them tell you what they need before gently adding in your own thoughts on the matter.

  1. Do your research

Before you broach the subject, make sure you understand the process of hiring a caregiver. BookJane makes it easy for you because most of the work is already done. The app lets you know which certificates and diplomas are important for caregivers, and even lets you choose how many years of experience the “Jane” has. You can decide if a male of female caregiver would be better suited, and make your decision based on which services the caregiver provides, such as housekeeping, meal prep, exercise help, and companionship.

You can search for the exact type of senior care you think will work best with your parent. Narrow the search as many times as you want by choosing which certifications and diplomas are important to you, which languages your parent will need, how many years of experience you expect from the caregiver, and what type of help your elderly loved one will require. Reading each caregiver’s bio will also provide insight into personality, giving you a better chance of making a good match for your parent.

  1. Come prepared

Meet with a few prospective caregivers ahead of time, so you can sing their praises to your parent when the time comes to talk about hiring help. Treat this aspect of the conversation more like a sales presentation; you are providing all the details and trying to convince your parents to buy.

Create a list of pros and cons, reminding your parent they will remain at home, continue to be independent, and will have somebody around to help with their less desirable tasks, such as house cleaning, exercising, and general maintenance.

  1. Stay positive

This conversation can be just as scary for your parent as it is for you. You are asking them to allow a stranger to come into their house on a regular basis. They might also feel a loss of independence or dignity, so it is up to you to reassure them and remain calm and compassionate at all times.

If both of your parents are living together, remind them each separately of how a caregiver could help the other. If one or both of your parents have medical issues, they will be more likely to get on board.

  1. Show you care

Showing your parent how much you care for them and trying to understand what they are going through, will help put your parent at ease and keep them from becoming nervous, frustrated, or even hostile. For many people, the aging process happens slowly, making it difficult to realize the moment when help is actually needed. That’s where you come in.

 

Pay attention to the needs of your parent, and have regular talks with them about what you can do to help. In the end, they will see how much you have done to help and will be more willing to hire a caregiver to alleviate all the responsibility that has been slowly piling up on your end.

  1. Revisit the issue

Don’t force the idea of hiring a caregiver in one sitting. Find a good time (and place) to discuss getting help for your parent, and if they aren’t sure, or are really fighting you, then it is best to just let the subject lie, for a few days at least. Slowly give them reasons why a caregiver is needed, and help them see from your point of view.

If you have tried many times to have the talk, and they are still resisting you, it might be time to bring in a professional. Because you are still their child, your parent might not be willing to take your advice about caregiving, but having a doctor lay it all out for them will prove just how serious the situation is.

  1. Share the power

Once your parent is open to the idea of hiring a caregiver, let them help you with all the details. Let them take a look around BookJane to see what kind of caregivers are available, and have them head up any meetings or phone conversations. If they are part of the process, they won’t feel like all their power has been taken away, which will make them happier, and will help you find a more compatible caregiver.

  1. Just try it

Sometimes the only way to make something work is just to try it. Bring in a caregiver once a week for as little as an hour to see how your parent reacts to them. Easing into things can give your parent time to adjust to the changes in their schedule and lifestyle and allow them to come to terms while still maintaining their independence.

Chances are, they will realize the benefits of having help come to them, especially when the other option is a retirement home. If you’re lucky, they will love having the extra help and will make a new friend in the meantime!