Hiring a Caregiver
4 min read
5 Tips for a positive relationship with your caregiver
Our best practices for setting you up for success with your in-home caregiver
Hiring a private in-home caregiver means inviting someone new into your life in different ways, both professional and personal. With that connection can come so many benefits, including a special bond between your loved one and their caregiver.
Learning how to navigate the intertwined emotional and financial aspects of hiring a caregiver can be tricky, but by following a few best practices, you’ll be off on the right foot. Maintaining a positive relationship with your caregiver by following these practices can increase trust, reduce stress, and most of all, keep the focus on the quality of your loved one’s care.
Tip 1: Set expectations
Setting and sharing your expectations is the first step in empowering your caregiver to succeed. This may mean taking some time on your own or with family to ask, “What is it I am asking this caregiver to do?” Prioritizing may be necessary, and defining what’s a need and what’s a preference.
Share these expectations with your caregiver at the beginning of your time together, giving them a chance to ask questions, gain clarity, and even make suggestions. This demonstrates respect for your caregiver’s time and skills.
Best practice: Create a comprehensive to-do list with the tasks that you need your caregiver to take care of. Divvy the tasks up by day and time, and assign them to your caregiver(s) in the Herewith mobile app, creating accountability and transparency for both of you.
Tip 2: Communicate clearly
Communicating with your caregiver, especially remotely, can be a challenge. So many little things happen in a day, so pre-planning whenever possible can help avoid any frustrations or misunderstandings. Setting your expectations with advance communication is helpful and necessary.
In addition to establishing a pattern for communication, how you communicate also matters. Your emotional stance when communicating with a caregiver is critical to building trust. Here are a few of our tips:
Rather than assuming you know what happened, ask questions to get clarity
Stay open to suggestions - sometimes, even when you have clearly expressed an expectation, your caregiver may need to alter or adjust how that expectation is met
Treat your caregiver with professionalism and respect
Communicate clearly and double check that everyone is on the same page
Show your appreciation for a job well done and encouragement on those tough days
Best practice: As part of your initial expectations, establish a pattern for sharing information. For example, ask your caregiver to keep a log of your loved one’s moods or any symptoms that need monitoring. Or, ask them to message you after each shift to let you know how the day went. And most importantly, always create a detailed plan to let your caregiver know who to contact and what to do in case of an emergency.
Tip 3: Partner in care
Together you, your caregiver, and your family and friends make up a team that works together to care for your loved one. Your caregiver brings essential knowledge and skills that others on your team may not have, so it is helpful to check in with them regularly for updates on how things are going with your loved one. Some families enjoy partnering together on the Herewith mobile app for easy communication and updates, but always make a plan that works for your family and situation.
Working as a team requires respect, empathy, and honesty. These qualities are critical to a productive caregiving relationship.
Best practice: Let your caregiver know if you want something done differently or need to make an adjustment. Be open, yet respectful, about changes. Listen to what your caregiver has to say, and try to be receptive to their ideas too.
Tip 4: Pay attention to the home environment
Your loved one’s home is their personal space, whether it’s a room in a care facility, a condo in a retirement community, or a house they’ve owned for decades. However, once a caregiver arrives, it is also a place of work. It’s important to make sure your caregiver feels welcome and can access the items they need throughout their shift to provide the best care possible for your loved one.
Perhaps that means getting the whole family to do a big clean-up before your caregiver’s first day, or maybe it means creating space in a cabinet or shelf where an overnight caregiver can store a change of clothing, their purse or backpack, and some snacks. Running out of cleaning supplies or an understocked fridge may mean it’s time to add a weekly task to your caregiver’s duties to purchase those items.
Best practice: Check in with your caregiver regularly and make sure they have what they need for a successful day of care.
Tip 5: Show appreciation
The work that caregivers do is rewarding, but can also be tiring, frustrating, and complicated. The simple act of saying thanks or offering words of encouragement can make all of the difference in a caregiver’s day. And that emotional support will carry through to the care they provide for your loved one.
Best practice: If you’d like to show appreciation for your Herewith caregiver through a tip, bonus, or monetary gift, these should be given to your caregiver via the regular payroll process, so that the proper taxes and withholding may be taken.
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