The older adults we serve develop relationships and grow close to their caregivers. The same is true for caregivers. The situation often evolves into a quasi-grandparent/grandchild relationship.
That’s what we want. With familiarity and consistency and having the right match, we can often intuit needs before they are even spoken. Unlike some facilities that deliberately avoid such relationships between staff and residents, we encourage it. The result is often better quality of care. When done right, it can be empowering for both the family being served and the caregiver.
Just this week we had a situation that I knew would be a challenge because it involved this type of relationship and the caregiver, Erica, had to have a tooth extracted. She would be unable to work for a day.
I talked to the Mrs. Jones, her family and Erica. We agreed to do what is our standard practice. I took a substitute over to introduce her while the other caregiver was there. A daughter and daughter-in-law also came to reassure their mother. As an aside, though this has been our long-standing practice, my understanding is that some home care agencies simply find what caregiver is available and send them as a substitute, and, if they think of it, call the client to tell them someone new is going. To me, nothing could be worse than sending a stranger to a stranger’s home; Home Helpers will never do that.
After we had all been talking for an hour or so, Mrs. Jones called me aside to speak privately. As background, she had been very reluctant to even entertain a substitute caregiver for her husband. She reasoned that her husband is living with Alzheimer’s and we must not have many people capable of handling his unique issues with care.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear what she had to say. Mrs. Jones told me that I had done it again – that I had brought what must be my only other caregiver who is an absolute “angel” to take care of her husband. She thanked me for finding just that right person and sharing her with them for a few days. And then she complimented me because if I did this for every family we served, we must serve some very happy families.
That’s what Home Helpers is all about. If you are exploring home care for a loved one or even if you already have another provider but are not completely satisfied, give me a call. I’d love to talk to you. I’m far from perfect, but I can promise you that the relationship Mrs. Jones has with us is what our goal is for you and your family.