4 Tips for Planning Family Events with Caregivers in Mind
When most families hire in-home caregivers for an elderly relative, they often have the idea that all care will happen “in-home” and when the family isn’t around to lend a hand. However, long-term in-home caregiving is more than just temporary respite care. More often than not, the senior and their caregiver become a team both in the home and out running errands. This means that when the family wants to come over for a visit or plan an event that involves their elderly relative, there’s a high likelihood that the caregiver will be present and involved as well.
Accounting for an Extra Family Member
So what do you do about this extra, almost unexpected family member at your events? For most, this experience can be like spending time with a distant cousin you’ve only met once before or when a friend of a friend tags along to a party. It’s difficult to know what the right thing to say is or the proper etiquette when planning a party.
If your elderly relative insists that the caregiver assist them during family events, do you include them in dinner reservations? Can you count on them to help grandma babysit? Many families have no idea where to start so we’re here today to offer a little caregiver etiquette guidance.
1) Caregivers are People, Be Welcoming
It’s an unfortunate truth that when many people don’t know how to deal with something, they try to ignore it instead. This often results in families treating a caregiver more like wait staff at a restaurant than someone who is a close companion of their relative who is there to lend a hand.
The first step to comfortable family events with a caregiver present is to treat them like a person. Say hello and accept that there is an additional guest at your event, one who just happens to specialize in making life easier for your elderly relative and being prepared for medical emergencies.
2) Make an Extra Reservation or Cancel the Visit
For events that are paid for like dinner at a fancy restaurant or going to a show that requires tickets, it can be hard to know what to do about a caregiver. Realistically, you have two practical options. You can either take over the care of your elderly relative during the event while giving the caregiver the night off or you can arrange for an extra seat, ticket, or meal. Caregivers are generally fantastic at being gracious and if the family is on a tight budget, but this is something that needs to be discussed individually with your loved one and their caregiver.
3) Caregivers and Babysitting
Another major question about how to treat your relative’s caregiver is babysitting, especially considering that your loved one is probably no longer capable of physically pulling a child away from a dangerous situation. The answer will usually depend on the age and independence of the children and the preferences of the caregiver. If the children are over the age of 8 and mostly just need supervision and advice, then the grandma-caregiver team should be more than sufficient. However, you cannot reasonably expect a caregiver to change diapers or wrangle toddlers in addition to their duties to your relative.
4) Honorary Family But Not Literal Family
In the best-case scenarios, a family will find it easy to relate to their loved one’s caregiver, and they will mesh quite happily during shared events. In many situations, children will accept the caregiver as something of an honorary aunt or uncle and adult children of the client will appreciate the fact that someone else is happy to take care of their aging parent.
However, even in this incredibly happy situation, it’s important to remember that caregivers have families of their own. They may enjoy spending time with you, but they have children and spouses and friends to get home to after their shift. Remember to respect a caregiver’s personal life, space, and the freedom to be both a part of your family and a pillar of their own.
Our in-home caregivers ensure that your loved one receives the in-home care services that they need. For more information about what Comfort Keepers has to offer, contact us today online or over the phone at (877)-698-9394.