Self-Care Through Home Care
How to Build A Successful Relationship with Your Home Care Agency
Written by: Anne Eidschun, Certified Senior Advisor
and Director/Owner of Griswold Home Care
Does the thought of having a stranger in your home give you an uneasy feeling? Well…you are not alone. These feelings are real and that is why it is advantageous to learn about home care and the industry before the immediate need for it arises. Self-care, health, and safety are important at any age, but with maturity comes the possibility of needing external care with very little notice. Choosing who provides that care is important and personal, and you cannot make such a decision without information. If possible, gather information about the various agencies proactively rather than signing up for services in the middle of a crisis. Choosing the agency is only the first step. How you make this a meaningful and positive experience is even more important to ensure you receive the level of care and compassion you would give yourself.
Here are my recommendations for how to build a successful relationship with your home care agency.
1. Get to know the caregiver.
You may feel awkward having a stranger in your home, but I am reminded by something my father always used to say: “Even a thin pancake has another side.” It can be awkward for the caregiver because, beside some basic information, they have no idea what they are walking into when they knock on your front door. It’s equally important to let the caregiver know about you and orient them to your home. Set boundaries but remain open to communication.
2. Designate a primary contact and define your preferred method of communication.
This will help avoid conflicts if several family members are giving directions to the caregiver or agency and help ensure the communications are received and responded to in a timely manner. You should expect communication with the caregiver to be frequent and thorough—this is the key to fewer misunderstandings.
3. Have candid and respectful conversations with the caregiver and the agency if something is not to your satisfaction.
It’s important to feel that your caregiver is a good match for your situation. Being responsive to communication and feeling comfortable expressing dissatisfaction are critical to ensuring a good relationship with your caregiver. And if you are having issues, do everything possible to have a face-to-face meeting with the agency scheduler or owner to try to resolve the issues; don’t just jump ship and go to another company if you are having a problem. Making a change can be stressful and you want to be certain you are making the switch for the right reasons.
4. Consider the benefits of a long-range plan rather than a quick solution.
Everyone wants consistency with the same caregiver. If you have regularly scheduled care, you may want to think longer term. A long-range plan is one that includes developing a team of caregivers so you know a few in case one gets sick, moves, etc.
5. Be realistic about what to expect.
The concept of permission is sometimes important to caregivers. Others will take more initiative. Give the relationship time to develop. When you decide to interview and work with an agency, it is never an irrevocable decision. You have every right to make a short-term commitment, re-evaluate, and then change your original plan. It is your plan and any agency you employ is there to serve your needs.
Griswold Home Care is committed to providing compassionate home care and working with our professional and resourceful partners in the community such as Jewish Family Services of Delaware. Agencies like JFS help many older adults find the support they need to assist themselves or their loved ones in navigating home care needs.
Sometimes the best way to care for yourself is to seek care from someone else.
Learn more about Griswold Home Care at GriswoldHomeCare.com/New-Castle-County
Looking for personalized aging support? Consider JFS Delaware’s Care Navigation services, which include assessment & care planning, care management & advocacy, transportation assistance, and much more.