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, many people have written many tomes detailing the minutiae of every step of hiring caregivers, but the reality is the final decision is a highly personal one. My favorite caregiver might be your worst nightmare. That said, when it comes to the process of hiring caregivers, there are some univ