During my fourth pregnancy, I got the unhappy news I needed to go on bed rest. I reluctantly put my regular life on hold and vowed to leave the chores and daily tasks to someone else for a short while. This was not an easy promise to keep. I felt resistant to home care. I hated losing my solitude and independence and I wasn’t comfortable relying on someone else for basic needs. As a home care owner, I knew how to arrange care.
Learning to Receive Care
But, learning to receive care was a whole new beast. The lovely caregiver came to my home pressed and polished. Now, as the client, I saw this experience through new eyes. She stood ready and willing to do whatever I asked. She was friendly and helpful. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer person. But, nice didn’t do it for me. Generally, I am a naturally quiet person. I am efficient and prize self motivation in myself and others and I don’t like telling people what to do. I want them to give me ideas of things they are willing to do. For me, talking was not a necessary exercise. I like it very quiet. This is just who I am and this lovely lady was not the right for my personality. She did NOTHING wrong. But, when it comes to sharing your personal space with a caregiver personality fit is super important. She was placed with a different client and someone new was sent to me.
Finding Caregiver Success
This time I was very specific about the qualities I knew I wanted and I communicated those with the staffing team. They hit it out of the park with Lacey. Lacey arrived and introduced herself. I gave her some introductory directions and she set to work. She worked her way around the house and looked for opportunities to take work off my plate. She asked me before tackling big projects. But, with my quick approval she completed her chosen task with detail and speed. I loved her vibe and we became friendly. I looked forward to seeing her and she got to know what I liked and how I liked it. When the baby came and I was off bedrest, I felt a sense of loss that Lacey would not continue our routine. I had gotten used to the help and enjoyed the camaraderie.
I learned from the client perspective how important the personal connection is. And, how difficult it feels to adjust to a new person sharing personal space. If you or your loved one feel resistant to home care, here are a few tips that helped me adjust to receiving help.
Make a List of Tasks You Need Help With
Before anyone ever came to the house. My family and I sat down to prioritize what tasks we needed help with. My husband hates to cook but enjoys laundry. Our older daughters agreed to keep up with pet care. No one wanted to take on meal prep. So, cooking went to the top of the list. After our family pow wow we had a solid list of must have duties and a few nice to have tasks sprinkled in. But, more than the task list, talking together about the coming caregiver gave us time to emotionally adjust to receiving outside care support. Discussing how someone might help us made the situation seem more positive than scary.
If you are helping a loved one arrange home care, I recommend you meet with your loved one to discuss where the added help will be most effective. If your loved one is resistant to care the caregiver task list can end up a bit short. It is important to tease out places your loved one might accept help. Forcing people to accept care often creates conflict. So, list building and family discussions play an important role in early acceptance.
Clearly Communicate Your Care Needs to Your Chosen Home Care Agency
You know your loved one and what he or she needs. Make sure you share all care requirements. Sometimes family members are embarrassed by a loved one’s personal biases or desires. But, it helps create a smoother transition if a client isn’t immediately put on the defense.
Caregivers can’t improve if you don’t communicate with them. Your chosen agency is the actual employer of your caregiver. Great agencies use your feedback to provide caregiver coaching. Sometimes creating client specific cleaning schedules or offering gentle feed back is all it takes to move a caregiver from good to great. Weather you offer coaching directly to your caregiver or share your feedback with the agency so they can encourage improvements you must get used to offering constructive criticism. I recommend you share concerns quickly before irritation becomes frustration. If your loved one is resistant to care asking her to accept a caregiver may feel frustrating. Make sure caregivers are properly trained before starting work with a resistant individual. Once a client moves from open to frustrated, it is harder for the caregiver to create a professional bond.
It takes time to adjust to change. Be prepared for your loved one to feel resistant to home care for some time. Even when the caregiver is a great fit, it can take weeks to get used to having a caregiver come in. This is especially true for people who have some level of cognitive impairment. They may need to spend many days with a caregiver before they feel comfortable with a new face.
If you or your loved one feel resistant to home care, you are not alone. It takes time to feel comfortable with someone in you personal space. Preplan and make lists so you know exactly what you want a caregiver to help with. Usually the list evolves as client and caregiver become more comfortable with each other. Let your caregiver know how you feel he or she is doing whether it is good or bad. And, be patient with yourself, your loved one, and the caregiver. This is new for all of you and sometimes it takes time to settle into comfort!