While many people fully embrace the chance to receive professional in-home care, some feel a little uneasy with the concept. Even when a caregiver is trained and has years of experience, meeting someone new who will spend time in your home, can feel a little strange at first. The comfort level with professional caregivers will also depend on the type of care needed as in-home care services vary from transportation assistance to help getting in and out of the shower, with lots of possibilities in between.
Here are five ways to make a connection with a caregiver, so that you can both flourish in your new relationship together:
- Foster good communication. Whether you are the person receiving care or helping to manage care for a loved one, clear and open communication will benefit everyone involved. Let the caregiver know about specific preferences based on the care being provided. For example, a caregiver needs to be told about a person’s preferences for when to shower or eat so that they can set their schedule or let the client know there might be a temporary change in that schedule.
- Set expectations up front. If you want to have regular updates about progress, appointments, or concerns, ask about their communication process and what technology is available and share what works best for you to receive this information. Perhaps the caregiver has found success with email updates, but you prefer a phone call? Maybe you want daily updates, not weekly. This is also part of communicating about needs.
- Be respectful. Mutual respect is a desired in any relationship—between siblings, spouses, co-workers, and more. Although professional caregivers are trained, there might be days when they or the client becomes frustrated in some way. Or maybe the client is feeling unwell and becomes impatient. Even when a situation becomes strained, it’s important to show the caregiver respect and not so there can be a resolution for both parties. By being respectful, often times this can help the caregiver find positive solutions to remedy the situation.
- Practice empathy. Take a minute and ask yourself if the caregiver feels uncomfortable being in a new place with a stranger. When a relationship is new, both parties can feel a little uncomfortable. While the caregiver’s job is to make you or your loved one feel better, see what you can do to make them at ease too. The more comfortable they are in this setting, the more likely they are to meet or even exceed expectations.
- Partner in care. Caregiving is not a one-way street. The best care relationships come from those in which each person is giving and receiving. Perhaps the caregiver can learn something new from the client—maybe through a story or a skill such as cooking, knitting, fishing or some other hobby. Sharing from either the caregiver or client can allow the client to feel more useful and bring renewed meaning to their life.