If you’re exploring caregiver options for your loved one, you’ve probably read horror stories about caregivers who are negligent, careless and – in some cases – abusive.

Taking steps to ensure that you don’t play roulette with your loved one’s care is a top priority. Hiring the right person is essential, but it can be overwhelming.

Here’s how to avoid problems and hire the right way:

Understand what you need.

Caregivers for the elderly come in several different varieties. Companions can come in and handle basic services and housekeeping, but if your loved one has a serious health condition and needs nursing care, you may need a nurse. After selecting the type of care that you need, be sure to research the average costs for that type of care. This way you’ll be prepared budget wise for the realities of getting that type of care.

Create a detailed job description.

Once you’ve determined your need, you need to develop a detailed job description to define what you’re looking for. It will help candidates pre-screen themselves and will encourage the very best candidates to apply. Your job description should include the things that are important to you as well as the demands of the job.

Ask the right questions during the interview.

When you look for a caregiver for your loved one, you’re placing a lot of trust in their abilities – but you’re also looking for a good fit for your family. In a corporation, it’s called a “culture fit.” Asking the right questions of potential caregivers can help you determine if they are a good fit for your needs, beyond their experience as a caregiver. Try “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with someone who upset you” or “What is your idea of a terrific day with someone you’re caring for?”

Finding the right  caregiver for a loved one is never easy, but there’s always help. By proceeding carefully, clarifying your needs and being very specific in your interview, you can reduce the risks of hiring the wrong in-home help.