When hiring a home health aide or Companion, it’s the personality and relationship that makes it successful. Of course this is after the agency does background checks and assesses the client for a good caregiver match.
So how does one start and maintain this relationship? As with any new relationship there is a “getting to know you” period much like a honeymoon. Everyone may be on their best behavior but not really feel comfortable. Then familiarity sets in and there may be some things that the client does not like about the caregiver and the automatic response is to fire the caregiver.
Here are some tips to get through the initial time of getting to know the caregiver and making this relationship work on a long-term basis. First, be clear about what you want the caregiver to do. Expectations are important. Let them know what foods you enjoy and explain what your routine is. Some examples are: tell them that you like to take walks in the morning, naps in the afternoon and that you enjoy going out to lunch or watching certain television shows. This way the caregiver is aware of your preferences. If you require help getting dressed, getting in or out of the shower, cooking and cleaning let them know. This should be squared away in the first day or even before, when you meet them.
Certainly if there are behaviors that you don’t care for, do not wait to say something. If chronic lateness is an issue, say something the first or second time this happens. If the caregiver uses her cell phone, tell them that you prefer them not to do that while they are working with you. It’s important to make yourself clear in the beginning of the situation. On the other hand, if they are doing a good job, say something too! Everyone likes to be complimented.
Good communication is key when having a caregiver in the home. It’s your home and you need to be comfortable. So be clear, consistent and kind and you will have a great experience with your caregiver.