Incorporating A Caregiver In Your Parents' Life

After much debate, you finally decided to get extra help to care for your parents. But as much as it is a relief, you also feel overwhelmed with this new chapter of caregiving. What do you do first? Who do you call? What do you need to prepare? 

First, take a deep breath; then read on for some helpful tips to navigate senior home care. 

Finding the right caregiver

Feelings of anxiety and nervousness often occur when inviting a new caregiver into your parent’s home. Questions such as “will they get along?” or “will my parents trust them?” linger in our minds. 

Researching beforehand can help alleviate these concerns for you and your parents.  First, narrow down your search to three potential home care agencies. 

A reputable home care agency will want to meet with you and do an assessment to determine: services needed, frequency, and the ideal caregiver. We recommend that you schedule at least two assessments from different agencies so that you have a better basis of comparison.

During the assessment, make sure to:

  • List your preferences: What area of care do you need the most assistance? For example, do your parents require help with laundry, meal preparation, and/or light housekeeping? Will they need help with activities like bathing, dressing, and/or medication reminders?
  • Hours needed: If you are the primary caregiver, how many hours do you need? The home care agency can provide the help you need when it works best for you. A plan of care should be developed so that you, your parents, and other family caregivers’ collective needs are met. (note: Home care agencies typically require a minimum number of hours per visit.)

This step may take a while but it will help you find a quality caregiver that checks all your boxes.

Preparing for the caregiver’s arrival

After meeting with different home care providers, you finally found an agency with a caregiver that you like. The next step is planning for their arrival - solid communication between you, your parent, and the caregiver is vital at this stage. In the early stages of this new caregiving relationship, be welcoming to any questions that your caregiver may have. An inviting attitude will help the caregiver feel comfortable asking for information than can help them do their job and provide for your parents’ safety and well-being. In addition, make sure that your parents feel empowered to communicate their needs directly to the caregiver when you are not around. 

Some questions to reflect on:

  • Are certain rooms or areas off limits to respect your parents’ privacy? 
  • What should your rules and expectations be? For example, where should they park? What door should they enter? Do you want them to knock or call? 
  • What are your preferences for daily activities? For example, Do your parents prefer to bathe in the morning or evening? What are their favorite shows or music genres? Would you want the caregiver to encourage afternoon naps, or going to bed early? 
  • How do you want to communicate? You communicate directly with the home care agency for changes to the care plan, but how do you want to communicate with the caregiver? Do you want to use a dry erase board, or leave a note on the dinner table?
  • How will you organize caregiver supplies? Will you designate an area for the caregiver to obtain cleaning supplies, your parents’ change of clothes, etc.? Or will you provide them with a tour of your home so that they can find the supplies they need to cook, clean and bathe? 

Working with the caregiver

Once the caregiver joins your family, make sure to share your preferences so that you can optimize their assistance. 

Here are some other considerations:

  • Averting bullying or avoidance from your parents. Having a caregiver’s assistance means that you have more free time without the worry of your parents’ safety. Your parents, however, may meet the caregiver with hostility or avoidance. 
  • This is the time to remind yourself and your parents why you needed help in the first place—to enable your parents to live safely at home. Remind your parents that their new caregiver will allow them to age-in-place rather than moving out of their home.
  • What if you want a different caregiver? Sometimes your parents won’t be happy with their current caregiver. Make sure to sit down with your parents and discuss how things are or are not working well. Sometimes caregiver relationships take time to develop. Other times, asking the home care provider for another caregiver may be the best option. A reputable provider does everything it can to match care needs as well as personalities.

Ready to get started?

Schedule your complimentary assessment with us at 808-202-2010

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