Robert Fulghum published “All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten” a simple read that became a phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller and translated into dozens of languages internationally.
I know the benefits of hiring “me” to help support seniors in their journey of aging. But, making a case for my agency is not helpful to building a case for more help around the house for an adult child who has just journeyed home to find a parent in distress. It is important to first understand the signs that Mom and Dad, or a beloved aunt, grandmother or loved one is flagging. From years of study, we now understand the indications that something may be amiss. As visiting children and loved ones, your fresh eyes, ears, and sensibilities are well poised to pick up on signals:
What I have found true about the holidays is the beauty of conversation time. Sharing concerns with your loved one is one of those conversations that requires courage, commitment, and command of the facts. Having worked with hundreds of families in the last decade I know too well how the conversation about in-home care goes. Elders immediately feel a loss of independence, they fear, resist, and rebel against the idea of a stranger in their home, and if they have dementia, these issues are exacerbated.
Adapting to the idea of in-home care and overcoming resistance on almost every front requires that you be confident in understanding what a great caregiver and great agency look like. For both, you need to ask the right questions.
I happen to have a certain bias when it comes to caregivers and caregiving; because there is something intangible when it comes to the soul of caregivers. That said, our philosophy of care begins with our agency’s approach to caregiving - excellence requires caregiver readiness. This translates into intensive training, orientation, certification and a commitment to ongoing education.
My caregivers wear their Senior Helpers shirt and badge as more than a uniform. They wear it as a testimony to their training and readiness to do what is best, right, and safe for every client in their care.
As I see it, determining the qualities of a great caregiver you need to satisfy these questions:
In the Patient’s Playbook, Dr.Leslie Michelson outlines “The 10 Questions You Must Ask Before You Leave the Hospital”. He poses questions like “what should I expect during my recovery?” and “what sort of equipment will I need?” These simple questions fundamentally stand between success and failure for recovery at home, yet are riddled with areas of grey.
Most who know me in this industry know I am a strong advocate for licensing of home care agencies in Massachusetts.
Right now, there is none; which makes home care an easy business to launch, and why there is such a proliferation of them in every town and city in the state.
This adds to noise in the marketplace and consumer confusion, especially when comparing home care companies on price alone. These urgent questions deserve satisfying answers.
One of Fulghum’s great kindergarten learnings was this: “Don’t take things that aren’t yours.” It seems to fit this potential holiday “visit with intention”.
Parents and loved ones are on their own deeply personal journeys of aging. They are not yours to take, but you might certainly make them better, smoother, safer and more enriching with a little more support.