Caregivers are trained and licensed individuals whose job it is to provide care to and build strong ties with elders who require assistance. Their professional lives are dedicated to understanding the complexities of interpersonal relationships, seeing each client as a unique individual, and establishing the trust that is the hallmark of any productive partnership. In caregiving, that trust is shared. The client, the client's family and the caregiver must all join together to reach the common goal. Working closely on a daily basis, the caregiver and the client’s relationship may evolve quickly. But a good caregiver will go the extra distance to communicate regularly with the family, and, will encourage them to do the same.
Getting to Know You
Developing trust with a client’s family is Job One for a caregiver. Trust can be established in a variety of ways, including opening a channel of clear and concise communication. A caregiver may ask a surprising number of seemingly personal questions, but we all know where assumptions lead! What’s the day-to-day schedule? Medical history? Challenges for the client? Frustrations for the family? Triggers? A strong knowledge of behaviours and tendencies will enable them to know what to expect. Peace of mind grows when a client’s family is confident that their loved one is in the company of a caregiver who knows how to react and respond in any given situation. A good caregiver understands that a family’s overwhelming concern is that their loved one is taken care of. They will welcome input and encourage family members to check on their loved ones for a real-time snapshot of their care.
Well, If I’m Being Honest
Honesty should be front and centre during every conversation a caregiver has with a client and their family. The information that is shared between client and caregiver should remain consistent in conversations with a client's family. Family expectations need to be addressed right from the start. Confusion about the level of care being provided and unrealistic expectations will quickly erode a developing relationship. A good caregiver will be realistic and up-front about what they can provide and never over-promise and under-deliver. They will encourage questions and look for ways every day to build that strong relationship with both their client and the family.
A good caregiver will treat their clients and their families with respect and dignity. A caregiver’s authority is developed through gentle leadership and instructive assistance. They know the value of and encourage communication. It is their job to help their clients and their families to transition to their new lifestyle. They know that change can be hard. They treat their clients with care and help their families to see that their decision to make their loved one’s lives safer and more enjoyable comes with its own reward.