Tuesday, October 23 2012
Home care agencies have known for a long time that acceptance of services is often one of the most difficult aspects of providing care. Though the pool of good caregivers is shrinking as the numbers of older adults is increasing, a real, unrecognized barrier to care is the senior – and, strangely enough, the adult child. Frequently, adult children struggle with, not the parent’s illness or frailty, but rather the frustration of trying to get mom or dad to accept helps at home. I have seen situations where literally dozens of superb Home Care Aides were ‘evicted’ (and that is putting it kindly) by the older person whom they were trying to assist.
Adult children are shocked at an older parent’s unwillingness to accept help at home. The adult children approach the situation in much the same way they would purchase a car or solve a business problem. They research the problems and find possible solutions. Done!
Not so fast…family caregivers need to consider the situation from the perspective of the older adult.
Many older adults see a Home Care Aide as the first step toward being in a nursing home. I urge family members and home care agencies to emphasize to the senior that the reason help is being suggested is to encourage independence not curtail it. Emphasizing the non-care aspects of the Home Care Aide’s role, such as assisting with household chores like cooking and shopping, will advance the cause as well.
Finally, attitude towards the Home Care Aide is also key. Families are encouraged to understand that being a companion or Home Care Aide is a difficult task with long hours, minimal pay, and a variety of stresses that would have most people seeking another line of work. I urge family members to verbally express gratitude as they would to anyone caring for one of their most valuable treasures.