Apr 8, 2019 by Diane Genovese
When we speak of relationships, it typically refers to family, romantic, and friends. These all involve a close connection where the relationship is built on love, trust and honor. In my home care business, I share with families that my primary goal is to match my caregivers with my clients, to ensure that the relationship between the two parties is built on trust, comfort and dedication. So often the client may be resistant to having someone come into their home to help them which is very normal. A once very independent person now must depend on someone other than family to assist with their needs. They feel they may be uncomfortable and are not looking at the situation as a positive, but viewing it as a change in their daily routines that they are not used to. Some clients are not thrilled with the idea of someone coming into their home even though they may know they need the help and especially when the help is for bathing and toileting. This is where developing “trust” in their caregiver is paramount to the relationship. When seniors are confined in their homes, socialization is limited. Talking with others, reminiscing about the past, playing cards, making crafts, even cooking meals together provides mental stimulation. Bringing back activities they once enjoyed can enhance the relationship building. Everyone has a story and when someone truly listens with interest, the bond will grow for sure.
I recently did an intake with a family needing help with their elderly mother and when I asked this dear lady if she had any hobbies she once enjoyed and what her interests are, she said “I love to do this, what you and I are doing right now…communicating, I love to visit with others.” This spoke volumes, as I believe just about all of our clients appreciate the companionship of their caregivers as they have someone to listen to them, encourage them and let them know their value in this life, no matter what their age may be. Winning your loved one over with the idea of a caregiver assisting them can be the biggest challenge. I find that if you express to them it is all about their safety, reassuring them that they will still maintain their independence, as this person is your “friend”, someone to share in daily activities can truly help.
Caring for our elderly population requires respect, patience, understanding, paying attention and most importantly “empathy”. When you can identify how your client is feeling and putting yourself in their shoes, you have empathy. It is a true gift and lives in the hearts of our caregivers which lends itself to a caring and safe relationship.
-Diane Genovese, owner