Adjusting to Having an Outside Carer in the Home

March 20, 2018

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Welcoming someone over for a visit is one thing, but getting used to an outside carer being a regular presence in your home is another. There will no doubt be an adjustment period as you get to know each other and understand the way you both like to do things. To make things run smoothly, here are some suggestions for how you can best adjust to having an outside carer in your home:

Make an effort to get to know each other
You’ll be working closely with each other, so it’s nice to get to know one another from the get-go. Take the time to have a cup of tea, go for a walk together and chat. You may find common ground and shared interests, or that you’re from a similar background or have had some of the same experiences. Perhaps they know a skill or topic you’re interested in learning? Even the most dissimilar people have at least one thing in common, and this can form a connection between you. Having a congenial relationship will help should any issues arise down the track, as you’ll have that background of respect for each other.

Create a list
While the carer will have been told what you initially want some assistance with (such as showering, meal preparation, etc.), you can write a list of tasks as well. Keep in mind that some things won’t be appropriate for a carer to do, such as re-grouting your tiles! But writing a list and going through it together (to then be approved by their manager) can give the carer a clearer idea of what you’d like them to assist with and when. Perhaps you want them to leave your newspapers for you to sort out, but you’d like them to dust the cabinets every couple of weeks. You can feel more in control when you’re the one writing the list, but be aware that this should lead to a discussion between you, rather than a set in stone directive.

Having some assistance isn’t all about chores either, make sure you aren’t giving up on the activities you love. Getting to your weekly painting class, having a coffee and seeing the latest movie or staying in contact with friends and family can all be made easier by communicating from the start to the Home Care Provider. Their carers are fully trained and experienced in helping someone access the community and are there to assist you in retaining your lifestyle as well as achieving any future goals you have!

Be flexible
We all have a set way of doing things, whether that be how we stack the dishwasher or fold a fitted sheet. It’s important to recognise that many of these things are done differently by other people, yet that doesn’t them make them ‘wrong’. If your carer does something that really irks you, of course, you should feel free to mention it, but if it’s simply a matter of a different preferred method of doing something, be flexible. You might even find a way of doing things that you end up preferring as well!

Choose your battles
It’s normal for there to be an occasional conflict between people in relationships, especially one that can be as close as that of a carer and the person they look after. Serious matters should be raised so that they can be resolved, but if you’re finding yourself embroiled in lots of bickering, think about what is causing the arguments. Are you being resistant to change? Are they being too pushy? Is there a misunderstanding? Clearly, communicate with each other so that you can work out a compromise. Even trying getting a second opinion from family or friends.

If you find, after all of the communications, that the carer and their employer (your Home Care Provider) just aren’t able to meet your needs it doesn’t hurt to shop around with a view to ‘switching’ providers. There is a lot to be considered if this is the case including exit fees - have a read here.

See it as a shared learning experience
This is an opportunity. Your carer might be from a different ethnic background from yourself and perhaps can share with you some of their favourite recipes from where they’re from. In return, you can show them some of your best dishes as well. Or perhaps they can teach you some words in their native tongue. Organise with them an outing to see your favourite artist at the gallery, or they could suggest a movie you both go to watch.

Utilising the relationship for its shared learning potential can make for a rich experience for the both of you.

This piece was brought to you by Everyone’s care needs are different. As we get older, we may need a bit of extra help around the home, or we may need expert care full time. DailyCare helps older Australians, and their families, along the aged care journey with clear descriptions and expert advice about who, why and what you need to know, every step of the way. Click here for more information

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