Emotional Aspects of Welcoming an In-Home Caregiver
By Kay Carter
Welcoming an in-home caregiver to your house can come with a range of emotions—it can be stressful for your loved one who’s probably not used to a stranger giving them care and it can also be challenging for the caregiver. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, the psychological health of the family caregiver can be negatively affected by providing care. Higher levels of stress, anxiety, frustration and depression are some of the most common effects. Take a look at the following tips to ensure your caregiver and loved one are both comfortable with the new transition.
Take steps to ease the transition
When preparing to share your home with a caregiver—or a team of caregivers—consider the following to help ease the transition:
- Don’t be shy about communicating rules and expectations. The more you communicate, the less likely there will be mishaps or room for error. Welcome the caregiver’s questions and make sure they’re clear on care routines.
- Organize supplies and have special medications and items on hand for the caregiver to easily access.
- Set up a place for the caregiver to keep their belongings and rest. This will give them a personal space where they can decompress.
Be upfront with expectations
When you’re welcoming an in-home caregiver, be upfront with them about the expectations you have for them and the care they’re supposed to provide. Do you want them to help with light chores around the house in addition to providing intensive care to a loved one or are they there to specifically bathe, feed and care for a family member? Reminding them of their responsibilities and your expectations can help set the pace upfront and allow them to really determine if this job is right for them.
Check in with the caregiver
Sometimes, caregivers can get overwhelmed when starting a new job, especially in the first couple of weeks. Have weekly check-ins with them about any concerns or frustrations they might be having and offer advice on how you can help them be most effective and intentional with their job.
Talk to your loved one
Many family members fear loss of privacy and have anxieties regarding disruption of their home and family routines. It’s important to maintain as much normalcy as possible with your in-home caregiver. Have conversations with your loved one about caregiver expectations and routine processes, so they aren’t surprised by anything when the caregiver starts.
Take care of maintenance
If there are any repairs or replacements that need to be made, get them done, as soon as possible. You don’t want to have your in-home caregiver worrying about the washer breaking down as a load of clothes are being washed or the refrigerator going out on top of administering care to your loved one. That’s just added stress that could lead to more frustration and despair from the caregiver and annoyance for the senior being cared for.
Remind the caregiver to care for themselves
Taking care of someone else is challenging but taking care of yourself can be even harder. It can take a lot of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional energy to care for a loved one. Remind your in-home caregiver that it’s okay to take a break and care for themselves.