This is the first in a series of posts that will define the reality of care giving vs the expectations most families have as they enter the care giving journey. We will also offer tips on how to make that journey successful.
Part One: The Great Care Giving Conundrum.
OK, seems simple enough. Mom or dad finally drops his or her resistance and decides to try a caregiver. All I have to do is call a home care company and tell them to have a caregiver here tomorrow. Well, yes and no. If all you want is a warm body and it does not matter if it is the same body day-to-day, you can likely find a company that can deliver.
The truth is, finding a great caregiver is a process and not a light switch you just flip on.
Understand the Great Care Giving Conundrum.
The conundrum is a simple, yet very unbalanced equation. People in need of assistance usually wait as long as they can before getting it…and, when they do, they want as little help as possible. On the other side of the equation, most caregivers want to work as many hours as they can.
It makes sense…for the person in need, it represents them starting to lose their independence. It also means dipping into the ever-cherished bank account. I don’t know about you, but neither of those appeals to me very much! Often times, their ask is driven more by family hounding them to get help rather than their perceived need. So, they ask for a little help. Keeps it easy to stomach and affordable.
Back to the caregivers…as a whole, caregivers are largely underpaid (not because home care companies don’t want to pay them well, but the market sets the price). Plus, they have families to take care of. They don’t just want lots of hours, they NEED lots of hours to pay the rent and put food on the table.
So, when the inevitable request comes in from a family for two four-hour shifts a week, we normally have to politely explain that the odds of us finding a great caregiver that wants that kind of work is very slim. They (the family) are not at fault for asking…how would they know!? Seems like a reasonable request. The truth is, however, even if we could find a caregiver that agreed to work mini-shifts like that, the likelihood of them sticking around and being reliable is very low. It’s not that they are bad people…they just will leave when an assignment with more hours comes up. Food on the table.
So, they key learning here is as follows:
- Be aware of the conundrum when you engineer you request to a home care company. Almost all of us got in this business because we love to help people. But we cannot help if we are not set up to succeed
- Know that should short, infrequent shifts be the “ask,” you might have trouble finding a home care company that will accept your business. If one does , the body they deliver will likely be different shift-to-shift
Next up…the fallacy that no one can care for mom or dad as well as you can.
Adam is married and he and his wife have two younger children. The family shares their home with two cats and two hermit crabs. The kids are working hard to get mommy and daddy to add a puppy...time will tell! They live in Sandy Springs and are active in the senior community.