How to Establish Boundaries Between Home Caregivers and Seniors
The life of a home caregiver is filled with many potential rewards. Most home caregivers receive a calling at some point in their lives to help others. Providing home care to those in need allows caregivers to answer this calling while receiving both personal and financial benefits.
People receiving home care also greatly benefit from the services a home caregiver provides. They feel a sense of independence that comes with having a caregiver, rather than a family member in the home. Paying for a caregiver through insurance or other means allows patients to maintain a sense of control over their lives during a scary time, while lessening the guilt that is all too often felt from relying on family members for care.
These benefits are also passed onto family members, as they can now maintain a sense of order in their own busy lives without worrying about who is caring for their loved ones.
While home caregivers, seniors, and family members of those receiving care all have the opportunity to obtain life-long rewards, establishing boundaries will increase the potential of making the experience a positive one for all who are involved.
Communication is the most important key to establishing boundaries between home caregivers and the seniors in their care. Communicating boundaries may seem impersonal when first meeting a client, as opposed to the daily small talk that becomes one of the occupational benefits of home caregiving, but it allows for space in the future for all the daily pleasantries that they come to know and love.
One of the most important boundaries to communicate is availability. Some home caregivers don't mind receiving phone calls at various times throughout a day, while others are only available at certain times. It is important that those who need care know when you are available. It is equally important that they know when you need your free time. Holidays can cause scheduling conflicts for both a caregiver and the seniors in their care. Discussing these times in advance can provide a stress-free atmosphere for everyone involved.
Seniors Receiving Care
Seniors who receive home care will also benefit by communicating any immediate needs to their home caregiver to make the experience as smooth as possible. Caregivers try to cover as much ground as possible with their clients before administering care, but every senior’s needs are different. It is important for seniors to communicate their likes and dislikes and to set up boundaries around their comfort zones.
Is there a particular way the senior prefers to be lifted or transported? What particular dietary needs and preferences need to be discussed? Are there certain days they require care for longer hours? If these topics are not covered, caregivers will not have all of the tools they need to successfully do their jobs.
Family Members of Seniors
Family members of seniors can play the most pivotal role in establishing boundaries between their loved ones and caregivers. Family members can provide insight into the personalities and needs of their loved ones, giving a level of comfort that may otherwise take weeks to establish.
One of the most important issues for family members to communicate is the division of labor. Many are preferential to whether it is family members or caregivers performing a particular task. Some prefer family members, when possible, to assist with tasks such as dressing, bathing or utilizing the bathroom. Others would rather have a professional caregiver performing some of the more personal tasks, as this allows them to keep a level of dignity with family members.
Family members can also help caregivers communicate with their loved ones, as the familiarity of mannerisms and speech can help move past any communication barriers that may arise. Keep it mind that it is best for family members to aid their loved ones in communicating to caregivers, rather than communicating for them. This will help the senior maintain a level of autonomy.
Communication Key to Establishing Successful Boundaries Between Caregivers and Seniors
Receiving home care is a big decision for those who need help, as well as for their family members. Having a clear line of communication between all parties not only makes it easier on those receiving this care, but it also relieves the stress of those family members who have taken on the responsibility of providing that person's needs up to this point. For home caregivers, having this line of communication translates into both confidence and overall job performance.
The most important part of the communication process between all three parties is the assurance of knowing that clear boundaries are in place to ease the stress of all those who are involved in this process. These boundaries protect the personal lives of the caregivers providing the service, allowing the establishment of a routine between working and non-working hours. For seniors who need care, these boundaries are a valuable component in continuing the goal of living independent lives in an environment where they feel most comfortable.