In “Helping parents accept help – Part 1” we talked about some strategies you can use to make it easier to get your parents to agree to having someone in to help them. If you missed it, have a look at Part 1 here to see what we talked about.
So for today’s follow-up, let’s assume that some of those strategies worked for you and you have convinced you skeptical parents to bring in a caregiver once a week to help with some chores around the house.
The next challenge is build a strong and successful relationship between the family and the caregiver.
Sounds easy right?
Unfortunately many families struggle with this because parents can easily find fault with even the most dedicated and conscientious caregivers.
Let me give you an example that’s become all too familiar to me and my team…
A common situation I run into is that a family has hired caregiver after caregiver for their mother and each has been fired (by mom) as quickly as they were hired!
Families in this situation are tempted to believe that it’s a no-win situation because they believe that mom really does not want care and as a result she will make it her mission to find fault with everyone who comes through the door.
Families then feel trapped and often throw in the towel and start to look at options like long-term care or assisted living because they believe home care can never work (even though as you know if you’ve read my article on home care vs long-term care, home care can provide an answer almost any need your family might have).
However, after some investigation this rarely turns out to be the case. When I sit down with mom and dig deeper on why she keeps firing caregivers it turns out that there are a few specific things she is looking for that she’s not getting.
For instance, perhaps it’s very important to her that when someone vacuums they move all the dining room chairs before vacuuming under the table. And since no caregiver has ever asked about this, no one has done it properly.
A good rule here is to try to get to ‘five whys’ on any issue.
Question: Mom, why didn’t you like Carmen as a caregiver? (Why #1)
Answer: She was lazy
Q: Why do you think she was lazy? (Why #2)
A: She never cleaned the house
Q: I know she says she cleaned 2-3 hours per day, which room was it that she did not clean properly? (Why #3…ok, not really a Why, but still a Question)
A: Well, the living room I guess
Q: What do you like cleaned about the living room that she did not do? (Why #4)
A: Well she never moves the chairs when she vacuums, that’s just lazy.
Q: Why is it important to you that the chairs are moved? (Why #5)
A: The only way you can really tell that someone vacuumed is seeing the clean lines on the carpet, but if you don’t move the chairs you can never see those
Voila! Suddenly the unsolvable problem that “Carmen is lazy” has become the very solvable problem that “Carmen needs to move the chairs when she vacuums”. Maybe Carmen could actually come back for another visit and mom could take a few minutes (with Carmen’s supervisor there) to go through the process in the living room step by step.
This is where a good home care company will take concrete steps to make sure that need is tracked daily so it never gets lost.
At CalaCare we use a family portal for this day-to-day tracking of client needs and expectations. In that family portal each shift has tasks assigned that are specific to the family and client and caregivers have track each task daily before leaving.
So in this case there would now be a specific task called “move dining room chairs before vacuuming” and Carmen would need to mark that task complete (or not) each time she clocked out. This would also allow the family to see that the task was done.
This ongoing process of clarifying expectations and then aligning caregiver (and supervisors) to those expectations is a foundation for a successful home caregiver relationship!
One of the parts of my job I take the most pleasure in is seeing clients and caregivers develop close friendships built on trust and familiarity that last years and years. If you’re interested, one of the best places to see this in action is on our testimonials page.
That friendship is a beautiful part of what we do and it’s what we are passionate about. Using simple strategies like the 5 Whys are a great way to start down that road!
I hope this article was helpful! Next week I’ll be writing about some other strategies to troubleshoot when caregiver and clients are not getting along. If you want to see our articles regularly make sure you stop by our Facebook page and Like us! It’s the best way to see what we’re posting.
Also if you think home care might be the right answer for you or a family member, have a look at our home page where you can see all the details and links for the services we offer, client testimonials, resources, and most importantly what we believe and why we do what we do.