Creating a Senior Care Team: Caregiving Together

Apr 13, 2011

Seeking help with caregiving is not a sign of weakness.  It shows you care enough to put together the best care for your loved one.

We have been addressing some of the common caregiver stressors and resources to address them in our recent blog posts.  At some point, one of the best things you may do as a caregiver is to seek outside help.  Some caregivers may have a hard time doing this if they feel that doing so means they are not living up to their duties or responsibilities (as child, spouse, or even based on direct promises made).  As you grapple with these thoughts, it may be helpful to discuss them with other caregivers in a support group or with a counselor.  The other issue which makes seeking outside help difficult is knowing what kind of help you need, where to locate reliable, trustworthy help and how to best use outside resources.  We offer free consultations as well as in-home assessment visits to help you with finding the best solutions.  CONTACT US today for more information.

The caregiving journey can be tough and a care team can help.  Your care team may consist of other family members, medical professionals, professional caregivers, church members and volunteers, neighbors and more.  There are some great tools available for organizing your care team.  Lotsa Helping Hands is a web resource for calendering, sharing information and organizing…so when someone asks “How can I help?” you can be prepared with answers!

Here are some of the common questions (or concerns) we hear from caregivers about bringing professional caregivers in to the care team and some information that might help you if you face the same questions.

How will my loved one adjust to having a stranger come in to the home?

Every individual reacts differently, but time and time again, we find family members are surprised by how well their loved one adjusts and benefits in ways they didn’t anticipate.  I recall personally how my grandmother complained about her talkative caregiver at first, and began to thrive on their conversations after about a week.  The best thing you and your home care agency partner can do is to prepare to make the best transition and adequately introduce the caregiver.  Read our Tips for Preparing for a Professional Home Caregiver, as well as how we use life history & daily routine information to customize care, for more ideas.  This is an additional benefit to introducing care prior to a crisis as well.

I worry that no one can provide the care I do.  I feel it might be more work to deal with problems and upsets from bringing someone else into the situation.

No one can provide the care you do, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be a successful solution for both you and your loved one.  Ask any home care agency you are considering how they work with you to select appropriate home caregivers and how they prepare the caregivers to help your loved one.  Does the home health agency provide training & supervision?  How do they know if there are scheduling issues and how do they handle these?  Working with an agency that has well-developed systems and processes means you have a partner in managing the situation who you can count on to quickly resolve any issues. Read a Q&A with our Executive Director, Alex Chamberlain, to learn more about EasyLiving’s approach to caregiving.

Things feel most out of control for me as a caregiver when something unanticipated happens, I get a crisis call, or have to deal with sudden issues in the middle of work or other plans.

The unanticipated can be the most stressful part of caregiving.  A care team does not solve this problem, but can provide you some support to ease things.  Having a trusting relationship with a home care agency means that when you have additional needs or changes, you know who to call.  Care team partners can be your backup and help you with conflicts.  A professional caregiver, family members, or community members can help with errands, taking a shift with your loved one at the hospital or other needs.

Additional resources:

You may wish to read our article “Creating the Perfect Care Group for Your Loved One Suffering from a Chronic Illness” or contact us at 727-5845 to discuss your options and resources.

Topics: Home Care

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