When we meet with a family inquiring about Home Care, we always tell the prospective client’s family that if they do not see home care as a partnership with us (the Home Care Agency, our Management Team and our Caregivers) and your family, we may not be a good fit…and we also tell them they may not have the success with the care their loved one needs.
Often times they look puzzled…occasionally, we get a comment like “I thought you wanted to sell me home care”? We tell the family we want to be their partner in providing care to help their family. Our goal is to exceed their expectations, but that won’t happen if we aren’t all working together as partners with realistic expectations.
Our management team’s job is to find great caregivers and to align them with families (chemistry is important!) where they can be successful. Ultimately, this takes teamwork with our management team and the family.
One of a caregiver’s job responsibilities is to make lemonade out of lemons. Figure out how to best support the family while working into an unfamiliar environment, navigating family politics and learning preferences. Often times, the family has been in crisis. That means the space in which they reside might be in chaos; unpaid bills, dirty dishes, laundry, etc. There can be pets and often the person needing help is in resistance (understandable…they are losing their independence!).
So, what is the family’s role? Ideally it is to help the caregivers be successful. The family has to want this to happen and needs to work towards this objective. No caregiver in the world can be successful if the family does not to want them to be.
Why do we say this? Because there are simply too many variables at play. No care environment is perfect. The caregiver is there because someone needs help. That alone makes it imperfect. The caregiver cannot read minds…or know every preference of a client (or their family). So, there will always be things that can be picked apart…especially during a transition. We hear things like “they do not fold the laundry the right way,” or “she does not want to clean the baseboards or iron my sheets!” Or “she is not the PERFECT fit.”
The caregiver is there, first and foremost, to keep the client safe and help the client with their activities of daily living. Preparing meals, helping with the house when time permits, running errands and driving a client to appointments are also part of the caregiver’s job for many clients. If the family they are working with does not want them to succeed they won’t. What that means in a nutshell is having realistic expectations of what care is required and understanding priorities. It may not be perfect right away, but it can be hugely successful and mutually beneficial over time if everyone works as a team.
I speak a lot on senior issues to groups. Making Home Care successful is just one topic. If you or your group want to learn more. Feel free to reach out through our website and I will gladly see if I can help.