August 6, 2012

When you have a professional caregiver assisting your aging parent at home, communication is key. After all, your parent is one of the most important people in your life. Leaving him or her in someone else’s care can be stressful.

So how do you make sure your parent is getting the care he or she deserves without ruffling any feathers? Follow these tips to help build a relationship with your loved one’s in home caregiver, and give you peace of mind.

Help Her Get Started

When your parents’ at home caregiver first arrives, help get her started by suggesting that your parent take the caregiver through the house. Your parent can point out the kitchen, where the food is stored, explain which bathroom is used, and go through a list of favorite foods the caregiver can prepare.

Before your caregiver arrives, set aside time with your parent to plan for the caregiver’s arrival. Make a list of all the doctors your parent might need to see. Write down upcoming appointments in a calendar, and encourage your caregiver to use it too. Make copies of all important papers, and show your caregiver where they are. Make a copy of your loved one’s daily medication list to share with your caregiver. And don’t forget to share your loved one’s favorite activities, foods and TV shows!

By preparing for the at home caregiver this way, you’ll make her feel appreciated and expected, and at the same time, you’ll ensure she’s prepared to take care of your loved ones as well as possible.

Be Open

You want the caregiver to feel comfortable communicating with you. Start by being communicative yourself. It’s important to be upfront and honest about your hopes and wishes for your parent’s care. Share specific concerns about your loved one’s health or behavior, so your caregiver will know what to expect. Provide multiple ways your caregiver can get in touch with you to encourage her to communicate back.

Be honest: If you’re uncomfortable with something your in home caregiver is doing, let her know. By being positive, and not placing blame on your caregiver, you’ll help keep those interactions as comfortable and productive as possible. On the flip side, always let your caregiver know if you have anything positive to say about her work. A little appreciation goes a long way.

Give Her Space

Be respectful of your at home caregiver. Remember that she has a life and responsibilities outside of her work with your loved one. If you’d like to talk to her, ask her for a moment of her time, or ask when would be a convenient time. This choice of words let her know that you respect her work and realize that her time is valuable.

The more respectful you are of your caregiver, the more likely that she’ll reciprocate, treating you and your loved one with respect in turn.

An in home caregiver can be a wonderful part of your life; helping to reduce your stress and ease your mind. For the most productive relationship, communication is essential. With the right attitude, you and your caregiver will build a great relationship, and you’ll be confident that your loved one is receiving the best care possible.