You're looking for someone who enjoys working with the elderly, or a caring, sociable, and nurturing person.
I have mostly worked with old people having Alzheimer's, paralysis, physical disabilities, dementia, depression, epilepsy and the like.
Yes, I find the best way is to take a step back from the situation and decide what actions or steps will result in a positive outcome.
Start with a broad question that encompasses more than in-home health work to give you a general sense of the person. Try to identify patterns or trends that show experience in caregiving, companionship, and working with people, even if it isn't specifically with older adults. Look for experience that indicates an ability to work independently, without close supervision.
This question is reserved for the person who meets your requirements. Ask for at least three - two professional and one personal. When they are provided, call. When you make contact, tell the person exactly why you want to hire the worker. Assure the individual you contact that anything he or she says will be kept confidential. Regardless of how you feel about the candidate (impressed, excited, etc.), you must follow up and check references. It could make the difference between finding a good, healthy situation and one wrought with problems.
Open up the floor and encourage a dialogue.
I am fully aware of the HIPPA guidelines regarding patient's dignity and I ensure the same by allowing for privacy and maintaining client confidentiality at all times.
If the answer is "yes," ask that the candidate bring a copy of his current certification to the interview. A state certification is evidence that the candidate was specially trained and also demonstrated a level of competency in the treatment for older adults. Aides are taught how to prevent skin breakdown (bed sores) for non-ambulatory patients, change bed linens while the patient is still in the bed and bathe a bedridden individual.
You'll need to adapt this question depending on your loved one's state of mind, but it can cover such things as anger, silence, sadness, moodiness, and memory problems. (Obviously, you'll probably want to ask this particular question without your loved one present.) Laying this out before hiring someone is a win-win for you and job applicants. You can get a sense of how they'll be with your loved one, and they'll get a sense of interpersonal skills required for the job.
I would stay and continue my work even if my shift has ended. Care giving is all about sensitivity. I would call to find out why my replacement hasn't arrived but will never leave my ward unattended.