questions about eldercare

This post offers some answers and advice for some of the more common questions we get about problems adult children face when coordinating a parent’s in-home care. We hope these help you and your family!

My parent doesn’t think there is anything for the home caregiver to do. He often dismisses her early when there are plenty of tasks that could be done. I’m also afraid he isn’t going to think this is worth it and cancel services since he doesn’t think there’s anything for her to do. What can I do?

One of the biggest reasons elders resist (or have a hard time getting used to) having help in the home is that they feel pressure to entertain the person. Their graciousness makes it hard for them to relax while the person is there or they may not be used to giving instructions/tasks. First, your home care provider should work with you on creating a care plan and listing possible tasks for the caregiver to do. The caregiver can then be proactive with these tasks.

Before bringing in caregivers or in your initial meeting with the company, brainstorm with your parent about possible tasks (our “50 Ways Home Care Can Help” handout is full of ideas). It might be good to have a conversation with your home care provider…in some cases the caregiver needs to be more assertive in carrying out tasks and creating a routine.

Mom doesn’t like the home caregiver who was assigned to her. What can we do?

Talk to your home care provider if things aren’t working out. Some people just aren’t a good match. A good employer understands that this happens from time to time and it doesn’t necessarily reflect negatively on the person (unless there are specific problems). Can you or your parent pinpoint what it was about the person that was not a good fit? This can help the company find someone who is a better match, or make changes to ensure things work out better (maybe the caregiver needs more specific instructions or information on the way a client likes things done).

I know my Dad is very prejudiced, so I’m worried he won’t accept caregivers of certain races. I don’t support this attitude but I don’t know what to do?

An EasyLiving client’s daughter was kind enough to share how they dealt with overcoming Mom’s prejudices to have a good home care experience so that others might benefit. We typically suggest that we send out the caregivers we feel would be the best match for the job, disregarding these personal prejudices, which may allow your parent to get past preconceived ideas. Often, an aging parent has experienced great care in a hospital or rehab. center from people of different ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, and genders, and it may help to mention this and remind your parent that your goal is to get them the best possible person to help.

Mom is talking about hiring a lady who helped her neighbor. She comes highly recommended. Are there any issues we should consider about hiring her?

We caution you to carefully consider the possible repercussions of privately hiring. We don’t just say this because we’re in the home health business, but because we have seen the negative consequences in our many years as elder advocates. While the caregiver may come highly recommended, remember that you/your loved one are now becoming the employer with all the related responsibilities and liabilities. Our article about “24-Hour Care” outlines the areas you should consider in such arrangements (most of the information is applicable even if the caregiver will not live in the home).

You can talk to the caregiver about whether she would be willing to work through an agency to work with your Mom. Some caregivers do both private and agency work, or may be willing to make arrangements to afford you the extra protections and backup care you should have.

For personalized answers to all your eldercare and home health questions, contact our Senior Care Consultant. Call us any time at 727-448-0900 to set up a complimentary home visit!