Over 14 years of interviewing and hiring caregivers I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in terms of responses, appearances and caregiving philosophies. I hired a guy who couldn’t tell his twin sons apart. I worked with a grown man who made custom headdresses for Star Wars action figures and used soap scum to style his hair. I considered hiring a guy with subcutaneous, surgically implanted horns. I interviewed a woman for a live-in position who calmly told me her ex was trying to find her and kill her and that her son was in jail for trying to kill him. I didn’t hire her. Every once in a while something (or someone) will catch me off guard, but after 14 years of mistakes, successes and what I can only call “experiences” — as well as countless conversations with other people who deal with caregivers — surprises are  becoming rarer and rarer.

I liken hiring caregivers to Magic Eyes, those 3-D eye puzzles that were popular in the ’90s. You spend hours and hours staring at the poster and all you see is a farrago of colors and shapes. Then, when you’re about to give up — right after hiring that perfect caregiver who turned out to be bipolar — it all makes sense. The answers, habits and qualities that were right in front of you all begin to fit together, and instead of a confusing decision you are left with a series of simple choices.

As nice as it would be if there were a definitive guide to hiring caregivers, there isn’t. Yes,