What do I need to know before I hire a domestic helper for my elderly parents?

The relationship between your elderly parents and the domestic helper who cares for them is impactful and significant. We have outlined a few tips to take you through the hiring and management of a domestic worker for elderly care.

This guide is should be read along with The quick guide for Employers of Domestic Helpers.

How do I search for the right domestic helper?

  1. Come up with a list of priorities before starting the search: Every elderly person has specific needs. It is important to list out these needs before you start looking for domestic helper. For example,
    Do they need help with their medicines? Do they need physical therapy? Do they have specific food requirements? Would the worker need to accompany them to clinics?
  2. Conduct an Interview with the potential candidates: You can ask questions related to the goals set and set accurate expectations for the domestic helper.
  3. Involve the primary recipient of care in the hiring process: Hiring help for your elderly family member could raise feelings of lack of independence or dignity in them. Involving them will help them feel ownership in the process, and will help them accept the change in home dynamics.
  4. The personality match of the domestic helper and the elderly person should not be disregarded! They will be spending a lot of time together, personality compatibility will improve their communication and trust, and also how they manage their daily schedules together. It is more important to hire for attitude than for experience as skills can be taught.

How do I prepare for the domestic helper?

  1. Talk to your parents/ recipients of the care to ensure that they are ready to be living with and be taken care of by the domestic helper. This change can sometimes lead to a feeling of lack of independence and it will take time for the elderly person to get used to living with a stranger so mental and practical preparation is critical to smoothen the transition.
  2. In a multi-generational household, it is important for all family members to know the roles and responsibilities of a new domestic helper. For example, who will be the one directly giving feedback to the helper and who will be deciding on the daily schedule.
  3. If needed, offer necessary training on their working days to fill in any skill gaps such as first aid.
  4. Prepare for the co-worker: Do you have a current domestic helper? Prepare them for another helper coming into the house and create clear communication paths. They may need to take care of the elderly person together.

How to build a long term relationship with the domestic helper?

  1. Train the new domestic helper so they know the roles and responsibilities from the start. If possible, involve the elderly person.
  2. You may have to mitigate any conflicts that may arise with this new dynamic at home. It would be good to do regular check in with the helpers so they can speak up about their needs and concerns.
  3. Taking care of the elderly can be challenging. Through the course of the employment, be empathetic to the needs of the domestic helper. This could be in the need of guidance for work, need for appreciation when deserved, timely breaks or anything else that may come up.

Organisations providing support on elderly care in Hong Kong 

Social Welfare Department

  • Pilot Scheme on Training for Foreign Domestic Helpers in Elderly Care
  • Since 2018, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) has been implementing  this scheme to strengthen the skills of domestic helpers in taking care of frail elderly persons, so as to enhance the elderly persons’ quality of life in the community and support ageing in place for them.

Big Silver

  • Big Silver cares for aging population in Hong Kong. They promote for age friendly communities and support to carers. 

656 carer

  • 656 carer is an online interactive platform that provides the caregiver with practical and useful information.  

Last updated on August 30th, 2023

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