I’m currently working with a couple who, like most of our clients, had never worked with a Care Manager before engaging our services. They live independently in their home in San Diego, and the husband has advanced dementia. This couple started with assistance from a caregiver in four-hour shifts, twice weekly.
We introduced a caregiver who we thought would make a good match with the husband’s personality and care needs. He made slow but steady progress in building rapport with my client, and his wife came to enjoy the opportunity for some regular respite. Unfortunately, the caregiver required some time off, and we had to introduce a new employee to cover in his absence. The family was very hesitant, reluctant to work with someone else and fearful of the change and disruption in their loved ones’ routines.
I explained the benefit of having a team of caregivers in place to accommodate inevitable and unpredictable changes that come with home care scheduling: vacations, sick days, etc. With some gentle persuasion, the family agreed and accepted the assignment of a new caregiver. Working closely with our human resources department to make another “match,” I introduced a new caregiver, who did a great job with this elderly gentleman. And we were delighted to find that this second caregiver was able to assist the client with things the first caregiver had been unable to. His wife was amazed with the progress he had made in one shift. Best of all, the personality fit appeared to be even better with her husband.
Bringing someone new into your home can feel frightening, and sometimes threatening. We understand this. Families often don’t know what to expect, and have preconceived ideas of what their loved one prefers or what’s going to work (or not work). This is an area where our objective perspective, and our years of experience in developing care plans and managing care teams can be invaluable. Many families are surprised to find just how well their loved one adjusts to the assistance of a caregiver.
As a Care Manager, I work to identify caregivers who are a good fit for each of my family’s needs. And sometimes it does take a couple tries to find the optimal caregiver (or caregivers), but we’ll keep working until we get it right. As difficult as it may be, I encourage our families to trust their Care Manager, and trust in the process. I love seeing how much relief and assistance a skilled caregiver can bring to a stressed household.