Feb 5, 2018 by Stephanie Howe - Owner, Comfort Keepers
Giving Special Instructions to Your Elderly Relative's Caregiver
When discussing in-home care for seniors, the traditional relationship between client and professional is often a little more complex. In many cases, the adult relatives of the senior in question are actually the ones to interview and hire a caregiver, but where exactly does this put the client-caregiver relationship? Here we have two clients, both the hiring family members and the actual subject of the service, your elderly relative. For many families, the unspoken question lingers: Who does the caregiver actually work for and can you give them special instructions? When it comes to resistant, ornery, or dementia-suffering seniors, the second half of this question matters a great deal. While it's always a good idea to provide your relative's caregiver with background information and advice, is it okay to tell them what to do while serving your relative?
Who the Caregiver Serves
It's an unfortunate truth that caregivers hired by family members are often seen as unwelcome interlopers. If a senior hasn't agreed that they are too informed to handle their own life, then it's easy to see a caregiver as an offense. Getting over this hurdle often requires the caregiver to make it clear that they are on the senior's side, there to help out with their house work, their physical concerns, and their boredom or loneliness. If you want to maintain this teamwork, it's best not to interfere too much in the growing partnership.
That said, if you are the person who arranged for, interviewed, and possibly is paying for the caregiver service, you have a certain amount of say as long as your requests aren't seen as against the senior's best interests. In most situations, it will be up to you and the caregiver to determine how much collaboration will be tolerated by your relative before you're seen as conspiring instead of helping.
Making Special Requests
Whether or not it's alright to make special requests of your elderly relative's caregiver will depend on the circumstances and requests. You can absolutely ask a caregiver to make sure your relative takes their medication on time or to exclude wheat from their diet to avoid a mild allergic reaction as these tasks fall within the general health and wellness care of a caregiver's duties. On the other side of the 'reasonable' line, it would not be okay to ask the caregiver to send you pictures of your relative taking their pills unless the relative has already okay-ed the interaction.
Always OK Caregiver Requests
Enforce Medication Schedule
Enforce Doctor-Recommended Diet
Check in with You Daily
Call You in Case of Emergency
Report on Wellbeing of Senior
Help Preparing Senior for Scheduled Visitors
Sometimes OK Caregiver Requests
Report on Activities of Senior
Keep Senior Away from Certain Activities or Foods
Enforce Family Recommended Diet
Bring Senior To You for Visits
Help Senior to Babysit
If you want to ask your relative's caregiver for special requests like health updates or specific are instructions, you absolutely can. Whether or not the caregiver can or will comply will depend on their relationship with the senior, your relationship with the senior, and if your request is reasonable with the senior's best interests in mind. Remember that while a caregiver's first responsibility is to the client they are assigned to care for, they are also a thinking, compassionate person is likely more than willing to work with you on anything that is fun and positive for everyone involved.
Do you know someone in need of a compassionate caregiver? If you have a relative who is ailing and in need of a caregiver who will work with you to provide optimal care, please contact Comfort Keepers today at 732-557-0010! We'd be happy to help you find the right caregiver for your loved one and clear up any questions you might have about special care requests.