October last year we published an article on how to support your parents to accept home care. We suggested some strategies, like asking the right questions, how to place your arguments and what benefits outsider´s opinion may have on home care acceptance. Today we want to continue from there: Once your parent has accepted home care, it is very often a struggle to build a strong and trustful relationship between the parent, the family and the caregiver. It may turn into a real challenge and we want to give it some thought.
Many families struggle with exactly this problem as the parent easily finds fault, even with excellent caregivers having long time records of being well qualified, dedicated and committed. A common situation is that our client relations person gets the request to exchange the caregiver. This may happen multiple times within a short period. Families in this situation are tempted to believe, that they were not successful in first place when they argued for acceptance of home care, which they hoped they finally got. But now they question it again and feel trapped. They start getting convinced that the parent does not really want care and that home care will never work. Suddenly it seems that the options the family tried to avoid are back on the table: long-term care or assisted living, coming along with even more challenges, like acceptance by the parent, costs and a radical change in the parent´s living situation.
However, after some investigation this rarely turns out to be the case. When talking to the parent and digging deeper on why keep firing caregivers, it turns out that there are a few specific things the parent is looking for and the caregiver does not provide. If you can find what it is, you have a fair chance to remove a huge barrier.
Let´s take an example. What you will hear often is that the caregiver is “lazy”. Here you need to start working like a detective and ask WHY - over and over until you have the full picture. During her or his life time, a parent has established a lot of standard procedures when handling activities of daily living at home. These procedures are stabilizing, familiar and have often been acquired from young age on. A caregiver who is assigned to one of these daily activities, and does not follow expected procedures is quickly label “lazy”. As an example, on your first WHY question you may get the answer: The caregiver is not cleaning the house. Next you may find out that she cleans for 3 hours but does not remove the dining room chairs from the table before vacuuming underneath. Suddenly questioning leads you from being trapped to a situation that can be easily solved. If the chairs are removed before vacuuming, “lazy” may not be an issue anymore. The same questioning may apply to lack of cleanliness, attention deficits, privacy requirements or any other matter of disturbance. All these can be solved by communications and adjustment.
CAREmasters client relation persons are trained to recognize and solve these issues. When a caregiver is rejected, it may be for good reason. We find out by talking to the family and the parent. We are always happy to provide an alternative. But if we are dealing with a disturbance, we can communicate it with the caregiver which may solve the problem. The family should encourage the parent to ask the caregiver to cover important needs and apply familiar procedures. In many cases it will be a quick success.
And finally you will get what you have been looking for, a strong and trustful relationship between the parent, the family and the caregiver, allowing for many peaceful years of home care.