Tips for Introducing Professional In-Home Care
When my mom was living with Alzheimer’s, my family found it hard to manage her care at home by ourselves, but my dad did not want to place her in a memory care facility. Eventually, my mom required more care than we were able to provide, so my sister and I suggested hiring professional in-home care.
My dad was resistant to this idea because he didn’t think my mom would accept having a stranger in the home to care for her. After several family meetings, my dad reluctantly agreed to give it a try. It took us several weeks and two different caregivers in order to find the right fit, but once we did it was a huge help for our family.
We didn’t know much about the process going into it, but we certainly learned a lot along the way. If you are considering hiring in-home care to help with your loved one, here are some tips that worked well for my family.
Introduce the caregiver as a friend or housekeeper
When we began in-home care for my mom, we introduced her caregiver as a housekeeper. We knew my mom would be suspicious of having a stranger in the home. We also knew she would not accept that this person was there to take care of her because she didn’t think she needed care.
By introducing the caregiver as a housekeeper, we gave my mom the idea that this person was there to help her, but not to take care of her. This made my mom feel better and more in control of the situation.
Start slow and small
We started home care with three hours, three days per week and added more hours/days as time went on. This allowed my mom time to adjust to the new routine slowly.
We also started with companion care and added more responsibilities as my mom became more comfortable with her caregiver. It was several months before my mom’s caregiver started bathing and dressing her.
You should not expect to go from having no care at all to having a “stranger” do everything for your loved one in a matter of days. It’s important to ease into home care to make for a smooth transition for all.
Find a good fit
The first caregiver the care agency sent us did not respond well to my mom’s behavior. She did not interact with my mom much and would ignore her when she became upset or agitated. This only caused my mom to become more agitated, which lasted long after the caregiver left for the day.
We knew my mom’s behavior was not the problem, but the way the caregiver responded to her behavior was. We asked the care agency to send someone new, and we knew right away it was a much better fit. She engaged my mom in activities and conversation and responded to her with empathy and kindness. She cared for my mom for about three years.
Meet with the caregiver privately first
This was something we did with the second caregiver that we did not do with the first. Meeting with the caregiver before he/she meets your loved one allows you to get a feel for them before they start. It also allows you to give them information about your loved one, such as likes, dislikes, abilities, triggers, etc.
Introducing in-home care can be overwhelming at first, but with a little time, it can be a huge relief for you and your loved one. Make sure to give it a fair shot and know that the first person might not be the right fit. With these tips, there is hope for a smooth transition for everyone involved.
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