When it comes to caring for your elderly loved one, your home care aide is your biggest ally. Hands down.
Whether you hire an aide privately or through an agency, they are an important partner in care and can help your loved one age comfortably in their home.
There are a few things you can do to boost your relationship with you home care aide – allowing you to work together optimally and ensure your loved one gets the best care possible. A strong relationship is important since quality home care improves the chances that your elderly loved one can age at home for a longer period of time, and with a better quality of life.
Here are our tips on how to get the most from your relationship with your home care aide:
To get maximize the potential of your home care aide you should view your relationship as a partnership. Having a collaborative approach to care, and keeping your sights on common objectives, will help you work together towards a common goal. This means:
- keeping lines of communication open,
- providing regular updates as situations evolve,
- maintaining mutual respect for one another,
- acting with integrity, and
- staying focused on your common objectives
It’s especially important to set out common objectives early in the process. Whether the objective for home care is to provide companionship for your elderly parent, assist them with taking medication, or meet their complex healthcare needs, the objective should be stated early and reviewed on a regular basis.
2. Treat Them Well
Home care aides often get enter into their profession for the love of the job. It’s an occupation that has a direct and profound impact on someone’s life – so the benefits are tangible and large.
That being said, home care is not always an easy task. It can be emotionally and physically challenging, and it can involve traveling the city to visit to several homes in a day. In some cases, home care aides face household-related hazards and are exposed to risks that others may not be. In one study, researchers found that almost half of home care workers in the US encountered verbal abuse at some point while on the job (1).
You can help change these statistics by treating your home care aide with respect and consideration, and keeping the home of your loved one free from unnecessary hazards. Being appreciative of your home care aide, dealing with any conflicts that arise in a professional manner, and checking in on them regularly can help ensure their working conditions are positive and healthy. Additionally, if you ever suspect abuse or mistreatment, you should immediately address it, report it, and take the steps necessary to resolve the issue.
3. Communicate Often
Regular and positive communication is the key to any well-functioning relationship. It is no different with your home care aide. Regular communication helps you identify challenges as soon as they arise, keep up-to-date on your loved one’s health and well being, and stay focused on your common care objectives.
Most people like to receive regular feedback from their employer. When done in a supportive and constructive manner, regular feedback is helpful to pinpoint where you’re excelling and where you could use more work. Where you feel your home care aide has done a great job, let them know. Likewise, address any challenges in an open and respectful way. Learning how to work together may take some time, but the rewards are wonderful – especially for your aging loved one.
In order to get the most out of your aide, you should dedicate time from your schedule to stay in touch. This could come in the form of:
- daily or weekly check-ins via phone, text, email, or in person,
- regular progress reports, or
- notes left in a designated place to communicate information
Figure out what works best for you and your aide and stick to it. With regular communication you can stop a problem before it begins and bring everyone peace of mind.
Looking for tools to facilitate communication and collaboration? Check out our previous blog post that has tips on how to use cloud-based solutions (like a shared calendar) to share information easily and effectively.
4. Communicate Early
In addition to communicating often, you should communicate with your loved one’s home care aide early. What does this mean? Communicating early means addressing an issue as it emerges – rather than after it becomes established.
Working with your loved one’s home care aide to identify a problem at the first signs could mean a world of difference for everyone – and, most importantly, for your loved one’s continued ability to live happily at home.
5. Reassess Needs Frequently
Did you know that elderly who need care often downplay the level care and support they actually need?(2) It’s critical to understand this and to work closely with your home care aide to assess your loved one’s needs. Between your insight and their observations, you’ll be able to paint a clearer picture of what types of interventions are needed. Also, reassessing often will allow you to get supports in place before the situation becomes critical or urgent. As people age, proactive interventions can make a world of difference. This is another example of where your home care aide is your greatest ally.
If you’re not sure where to start when assessing your loved one’s needs, talk to your aide for advice. There are also several useful resources online that you can consult to get a clearer picture of the issue:
- Click here for a checklist that will help you prepare for an assessment or reassessment
- Or, click here to access a worksheet that will help you itemize your loved one’s needs and limitations
By communicating often, communicating early, and reassessing frequently, you can work closely with your home care aide to maximize the chances of your loved one aging at home comfortably and for a longer period of time.
6. Maximize Help from an Agency
Working with an agency can take a lot of stress out of finding the right highly skilled and dependable home care aide.
Good agencies put a lot of time and effort into screening their home care aides and matching your loved one to the right support. This can mean better care and more options. For instance, if something isn’t going well with the home care aide you’ve be assigned, the agency can help fix the situation – either by stepping in or assigning a new home care aide.
Take advantage of all the benefits an agency has to offer by communicating often with them and flagging concerns or problems as soon as they arise. When you hire from an agency, you don’t need to worry about administrative concerns (like taxes and insurance) and you can be almost certain that you will be paired with the right home care aide to meet your loved one’s needs.
Building a strong relationship based on mutual respect, trust, dignity, integrity, and collaboration is the key to maximizing the impact of your home care aide. A committed and effective home care aide could mean that your elderly loved one can remain comfortably in their home for a longer period of time. And that’s surely something to celebrate.
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