Big life changes aren’t easy at any age, but it can be especially tough for seniors to handle transitions. So when the time comes to bring in some help from a caregiver to assist them, your parent may be resistant to the idea. Perhaps they feel they’re losing their independence. Or they may not like the idea of having a stranger coming into their home. The idea that they may not get along with their caregiver (and create more stress for you!) may even be making you hesitant to move forward with in-home care.
Whether you hire privately or use an agency to bring in a caregiver, adding another person into the mix may bring some new challenges. But with some patience and a plan of action, starting in-home care can be one of the best decisions you and your parent make. In this article, we’ll review three key things you can do to help your loved one have a successful relationship with their caregiver.
Some seniors are resistant to in-home care because it’s often very sudden. Maybe they’ve fallen or are recovering from a procedure and need assistance. In some cases, the family caregiver hasn’t been to their home in some time and then suddenly becomes aware of their parent’s living situation. In these situations, in-home care may need to start right away with very little time for your parent to get used to the idea. Being thrust into a new reality can be stressful for anyone, and seniors are no exception. And oftentimes, this stress can translate to a rocky relationship with their caregiver who they view as the source of the problem.
If you can, introduce the idea of bringing in a caregiver as early as possible – even if your parent is fine on their own right now. Talk about what it might look like and when it might be appropriate to bring in help. If it’s discussed in a non-stressful situation, it can make a big difference in their attitude toward having a caregiver when the time comes – especially if you planned for it as a family. When they are more mentally prepared for this change, it’s going to help the relationship start out on much better footing.
Check out this article on other tips to help your parent accept in-home care on our blog.
Remember that this is a relationship
The caregiver-care receiver relationship can be very intimate, so it’s important to take great care in who you choose if you want to foster relationship-building. If you go the private route, you’ll be responsible for the hiring, and you’ll want to ask questions during the hiring process that help you determine if the caregiver has the right personality to work with your parent. They’ll be spending a lot of time together, and similar traits helps! If you’re working with an agency the caregivers will already be hired, but they’ll still work to assign a caregiver that will be the best match for your parent’s needs, personality, and interests.
It’s important to remember that this is more than just a service provider – it’s more like having a friend. You’ll be expecting the caregiver to treat your loved one with compassion and respect, so you and your parent should do the same if you want to build a good relationship. Once care begins, your interaction with the caregiver will depend on whether you hire privately or use an agency. Even though you’ll have less direct interaction with the caregiver if you go through an agency (a care manager supervises), you’ll still be involved, and chances are your parent will be vocal about how it’s going. So there will still be many opportunities to encourage good behavior and set a positive example. Open communication, kindness, and understanding go a long way toward building any healthy relationship – including those between caregivers and those receiving care.
Set and communicate expectations
Expectations and boundaries are also an important part of successful relationship-building between your parent and their caregiver. If you’re managing the caregiver directly, letting them know exactly what the job entails helps prevent tension and miscommunications. The same goes for talking with your loved one. Explain what the caregiver will and won’t do, and how their life will be impacted. The more everyone is aware of who is doing what and how the process will work, the less chance of conflict.
Understanding and communicating expectations is still possible when using an agency for in-home care, although it might look a bit different. Rather than communicating directly with the caregiver, a care manager will be there to help facilitate. If it’s not going well between your parent and their caregiver, you can work with them to fix the problem, or if need be, find a different caregiver who might be a better match.
In-home care can literally be a lifesaver for a senior, and the caregiver-care receiver relationship can be a wonderful thing. But like any relationship and major life change, it does take some effort to help it flourish. Planning, introducing the idea early, and choosing a caregiver who matches your parent’s personality are a few things you can do before the care begins. Once it’s started, take care to treat the caregiver as more than just a generic service provider. Treat them with respect, communicate often, and set realistic expectations.
Using an agency can make the entire process easier. Our goal is to take the stress off of you and provide the best care possible to your loved one – including making them comfortable and happy with their caregiver. You can learn more about caregiver matching, how we train our caregivers, and how we supervise them with the family’s involvement in our “How it Works” section.
We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have – simply book a complimentary discovery call to talk with a client service specialist today.