You’ve convinced Dad to get some help at home. Now, comes the most important part. You want to get the caregiver started on the right foot. It’s essential you don’t miss this window of opportunity. The last thing you want is more problems than this was intended to solve. So, how can you get the caregiver started with Dad and make sure it works?
If you’re still struggling with the convincing part, give us a call at 727-447-5845 or book a time to chat. We’ve helped thousands of families and we can help YOU. You may also want to check out Seven Ways to Talk to Your Aging Parent about Getting Help. Click Here for some fresh ideas and approaches we’ve found work well.
Four Simple Ways to Get a Caregiver Started with Dad
Make a good introduction
Too often, the caregiver simply shows up with no introduction. Would you want to meet someone this way? Imagine how awkward this would feel, especially when it’s your first time having someone help. We’ve heard of examples where the client simply turned the person away or told them not to come back with little explanation. If no one helps ease the introduction or checks in, you might find yourself wondering what went wrong.
Caregivers are pretty adept at being dropped into new situations. They excel at building relationships with older clients and assessing what needs to be done. But, why put them at a disadvantage? Have you ever started a new job and simply been plopped down at a desk with your work? No introduction to colleagues? No tour of the office (where’s the coffee…and bathroom!?!) You’re expected to know everything without orientation or training?
Too many people miss the simple step of being present to make an introduction. But, that might not be so simple if you don’t live nearby. However, if you’re working with a quality home care company they should handle this for you. Or, if you are working with a care manager they’ll usually set up and manage the introduction.
At EasyLiving, our supervisor attends the first meeting with the caregiver (and family, when applicable). Making a good introduction ensures a positive first impression. The client shouldn’t have to figure out what to do. The supervisor can make sure the caregiver knows where things are, understands what the client wants, and gets any questions answered. And, she can spot any potential concerns, or support needed, right off the bat.
Set the stage
Even before the introduction, set things up so it’s easy for the caregiver to get started. Think of how to set the stage for a successful relationship. It’s very personal and sensitive having someone in your home. Each client wants and needs different things. Don’t expect the caregiver to read your (or Dad’s) mind.
EasyLiving developed a Life History & Daily Routines Questionnaire and proprietary care plan for this very reason. It provides the guidance the caregiver needs to do the job well. She knows what’s expected. But, she also knows the “little things” that make a big difference.
Does Dad enjoy an afternoon nap or sleeping in late? When a caregiver comes in and disrupts a long-standing schedule, it immediately sets a bad tone. What are Dad’s favorite activities or subjects? A good conversation and some enjoyable activities create a bond.
This prep work reduces the awkwardness of starting out the relationship. And, it helps avoids some preventable bumps that happen without enough information.
Reel him in with a “hook”
Especially in situations where the client is hesitant (most of them), start slow. We often advise starting with specific tasks. For example, if Dad never liked to cook, he may love having someone prepare favorite meals for him. Or, perhaps he hates doing laundry and finds ironing tough since he hurt his back. Maybe Dad’s given up driving at night but would still like to go out to dinner or attend events. It’s a lot easier to get a caregiver started with these tasks.
We find getting started is the toughest part, but clients become hooked once they experience someone helping. With the steps above to help build the relationship, don’t be surprised when Dad starts asking the caregiver for help with more tasks.
You may have in mind a million things Dad “needs” but it’s much better to “reel him in” with what he identifies needing. This can also be done by seizing upon certain windows of opportunity. You and the doctor could suggest someone help after a hospitalization or illness. Or, there might be a specific project to get started.
Smooth the way
This starts with the steps mentioned above. Arm the caregiver with information to do the best job for your Dad.
Additionally, by providing a structured care plan you can prevent a common concern. One of the biggest objections is “What will the person do?” or “not wanting to entertain someone”. We all like our private time and set ways, so it’s easy to understand this. No one wants what should be helpful to feel like a burden. With the care plan and a good orientation, this won’t be an issue.
Next, follow up is vital when getting started. This is the time when a little problem can turn into Dad firing the caregiver. Often, there are simple solutions. Or, there’s just some tool or information the caregiver needs. Dad may not speak up until it’s too late. And, the caregiver might not say anything either. Be proactive and help smooth the way during the early stages.
EasyLiving conducts follow up calls with the client/family and caregiver. Most importantly, we don’t wait to do this. We don’t put the burden on the client to contact us. We’ve found this to be one of the most important steps in getting things started.
Ready to get started? Still struggling with getting Mom or Dad to accept help?
Chat with one of our experienced advisors.