Making the decision to hire in home care help for a loved one can be full of conflicting emotions. This can especially be the case for the senior or relative who requires help. Some of the common issues our clients have faced are fears about becoming less capable, having a stranger in their own home, fear of abandonment by adult children, or just recognizing that they can’t do the same things they once could. But we still want to do the best we can for our loved ones, and sometimes that means hiring someone to assist with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
After serving families in the Philadelphia area for more than 30 years, here are some of the suggestions we’ve come up with to assist in the transition from family caregivers to hired caregivers:
Make sure your relative is involved in the decision regarding who to hire for in home care.
It’s perfectly understandable that aging or limited mobility persons want to be involved in decisions regarding their own life...after all, this is a common characteristic of people all around the world, at all ages! Depending on the type of assistance needed, a caregiver may be involved in fairly intimate activities, like toileting, bathing, or dressing. This means that there needs to be a certain level of comfort and familiarity between caregiver and client. Keeping your loved one engaged in the interview and hiring process is a proactive step to ensure that they are matched with someone they can work with. Even if cognitive disabilities like dementia or Alzheimer’s are present, it’s important to get your loved one’s opinion about a potential caregiver, or at least allow them to meet beforehand.
- Pro caregiver tip: Have a familiar family member present for the first few caregiving sessions to make your relative feel comfortable and ease the transition.
Discover whether fears exist regarding home care.
In many cases, resistance to in home care is ultimately a reflection of a deeper-held fear. Perhaps a fear of getting old or becoming less capable exists. Perhaps a loved one is fearful that adult children will neglect them once a caregiver is hired. Concerns like this are perfectly understandable, and should be treated reasonably. Once you understand what the underlying fear is, you will then be able to address it (you can’t fix a problem you don’t know about!). Here are some questions you could consider asking:
- “Mom, I noticed you don’t seem excited about hiring help. Are you worried that you might not see me as much if we hire a caregiver? Knowing that you’re well cared for will give me peace of mind...and how about we set up visits on Wednesdays and Sundays?”
- “Dad, are you worried that you’ll lose some independence if we hire a part-time caregiver? Isn’t it nice that you can stay at home instead of moving, though?”
- “Aunt Matilda, I know you like to keep a busy social schedule, but sometimes it’s hard for me to drive you to all your functions. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone dedicated to making sure you got where you needed to be?”
Enlist the help of others.
The dynamic between elderly parents and adult children can become awkward when it turns out that parents aren’t in a position anymore to take complete care of themselves. It may be difficult to hear from the children you raised that you need help with things like bathing, food preparation, or taking your medicine on time. For this reason (and each family will have a different dynamic), it may be helpful to enlist the help of another relative, friend, or other trusted person (pastor, poker buddy, bridge partner, etc) to open the discussion about home care. Hearing from peers or other trusted friends may help a loved one to understand that this is a transition, and does not necessarily signal the end of life as they know it.
Decipher whether personality or health issues are impacting the process of hiring a caregiver.
Perhaps a loved one refuses care because they do not like a particular caregiver. While this can certainly be the case, there are some drugs and diagnoses - like dementia - that may result in a loved one feeling paranoid about a particular person. It’s important to compare your loved one’s demeanor prior to and after a diagnosis to help decipher whether a personality conflict exists, or whether a mental health issue is manifesting itself. Regardless of which, it’s in your loved one’s best interest to surround them with caretakers they are comfortable with.
- Pro caregiver tip: Hire an agency that has a thorough client-caregiver matching process, and one that prioritizes client needs above scheduling convenience. For example, at Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses, we take client-caregiver compatibility very seriously, and we will make an adjustment whenever a client requests to do so. BUT, we do such a good job of vetting our caregivers and matching them to clients that we rarely get this request! Read some of our Caregiver Profiles, or learn about the PAN caregiver-client matching process...it is very thorough, and a hallmark of our business.
Is your family considering hiring an in home caregiver? Consider Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses!
The four tips above have come in handy for many families who have made the decision that in home care would improve quality of life for a loved one. It’s important to keep your mom/dad/relative’s best interests at the forefront, and respecting their agency and human dignity is step number one on the path to hiring in home care help. At Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses, we pride ourselves on the competence and compassion of our caregivers, and our clients have been very grateful. Visit our Client Testimonial page, where you can read more feedback like this about our caregivers:
“I just wanted to write a letter of sheer appreciation for bringing Sherry into my Dad's life. She has been just extraordinary with everything she does for my dad I don't think Linda or I could function without her. My Dad and Sherry have a special connection...My dad is so happy with time spent with her whether it's going to the doctor, grocery store, therapy, bank, CVS, or just chatting about WWII. She even takes him for drives in his car after an appointment which my dad has come to love since he doesn't drive anymore. Please let [Sherry] know how much we appreciate everything she does for my family.” Marie from Haverford, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses is the premier provider of in home care in the greater Philadelphia area. We would be honored to meet your family and work together to improve lives. Please contact us today by clicking on the button below!