Successful Caregiver Relationships
Senior Home Care Relationship with Caregiver
Maintain Successful Relationships with Caregivers
So you’ve hired a caregiver to provide your loved one with in-home care services. You took the time to find an experienced caregiver that is a perfect fit for your loved one. If you haven’t gone through an agency, you’ve made the arrangements to ensure you are carrying the appropriate insurance and withholding taxes as their employer.
Whether you’ve hired a part-time caregiver for only a few hours each day or a live-in caregiver that will stay with your loved one on a long-term basis, things are going great! Everyone is back in the home, your caregiver feels like part of the family, and is getting to know all of your loved one’s preferences.
But how do you nurture this budding relationship and ensure that it continues to be successful for all parties involved in the future? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
Live-in caregiver relationships require some special considerations – and while many families do not require live-in home care services, I mention this one first because it is so important for those that do. Give your caregiver as much personal space as possible for their belongings and as a place to relax when they are not actively on duty.
A separate bedroom and bathroom are ideal if you are lucky enough to not live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment. But if that is not possible, try to dedicate specific drawers and an area of the apartment that is the caregivers. Treat the space you give your live-in caregiver as you would with a roommate – ask for permission if you need to enter it and provide as much privacy as possible.
Remember that this is a job! Often, families become very comfortable with the caregiver as they become part of the family – this can be both a blessing and a curse. You want them to be able to predict your loved one’s needs and preferences, but you do not want them to get so comfortable in the relationship that they become complacent.
The answer to this common problem is semi-annual reviews. Solicit feedback from everyone involved: loved one, family members, doctors, physical therapists, and any other community members that interact with the caregiver! Then sit down twice a year and discuss the performance and assign goals. This is also a great forum for the caregiver to express any concerns they might have with their living environment, family members, or their patient.
A quality home care agency will coordinate this review function for their clients, soliciting feedback regularly, setting expectations, and making changes as necessary. But for those that choose to hire privately, it should not be overlooked!
Everyone wants the best for their loved ones and a great way to ensure that your caregiver continues to provide best-in-class care is to keep them up to date on all available treatments for your loved one’s diagnoses. Home care agencies can of course assist in this function by coordinating on-going training of their caregiving staff. But if you have chosen to hire privately, set goals for your caregiver to attend training seminars as part of their semi-annual review.
Be on the lookout for creative opportunities too – we recently sent one of our senior caregivers to a weekend workshop provided by a local museum on incorporating the arts with Alzheimer’s. She came back with information about how we can use artwork to help stimulate our Alzheimer’s clients and we are able to incorporate this into our in-service training programs and accompany some of our clients to galleries. Who would have known how much impact Picasso could really have!
Last, and certainly not least, here’s a common area where families falter. They forget that they have hired a trained homecare professional to care for their loved one, and instead start treating them like a maid or a personal butler. Your caregiver always deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.
It’s certainly reasonable to expect your caregiver to help with dishes and laundry (assuming it’s for the patient-plus-one and not a family of five!). Asking them to serve you breakfast in bed or do chores for you when they’ve been hired to care for your loved one instead is certainly pushing the limit! Be aware of what you are asking them to do and whether it falls within the scope of their duties.
Keep these things in mind, and you can help to ensure that the relationship with your caregiver only grows stronger and more effective over time! At Alvita Care, we continue to communicate with you regularly once we place a caregiver in your home to ensure that there are no problems and that any that do arise are resolved quickly.