What Can You Ask Your In-Home Caregiver to Do?
Bringing a caregiver into your home can be a challenging process. It often takes a little while for you, the client, and your new assistant to get used to each other and start building something like a routine together. Usually, this will start with very basic interactions like cooking, light housework, and the usual introductory conversations. But after the first week or so, the normal things will become more automatic, and you’ll start to wonder what else can be done in the time your caregiver is around. Many elderly clients are worried about coming off as too demanding or presumptuous and getting off on the wrong foot while others know they can ask for special favors but don’t know where the line is between reasonable and unreasonable requests. So what can you ask for your in-home caregiver?
What Your Caregiving Plan Says
If you hired through an agency, the best place to start is the description of the specific services you’ve hired. Normally there is a certain amount of distinction between the intensity of care depending on what each client needs. Almost all caregiver services start with an offer of companionship and light housekeeping while more medical services may include medication monitoring and enforcement, personal care for those who are physically limited, and specialized care for transitioning home from the hospital. There is also a more intensive dementia care type which is dedicated to keeping a closer eye on seniors. Specific services will be listed for each tier so you can get an idea of what your caregiver expects to be doing.
What is “Light Housekeeping”?
Many caregiver services will state that they do light housekeeping, but it is seldom defined what this means. In essence, it means that you can ask your caregiver to help you keep up with your regular chores, but you can’t ask them to clean and sort your attic or landscape the yard. Often the first thing a family will hire a caregiver for is to help an aging relative keep up with their home. Especially if you’re willing to hang out and talk, your caregiver should be happy to sweep up, tidy the kitchen, do laundry, vacuum the living room, and sort photo albums with or for you. In other words, if it doesn’t break a sweat and would be done in the normal course of cleaning a house, you can ask your caregiver to help out.
If you want heavier or more intensive work done like transferring all your attic junk into a fun garage sale, talk to your caregiver about running the project and ask them how much they would be willing to do. Your caregiver does not have to pitch in for heavier labor, but they might be willing to do so or to define how much help they will need to haul things around.
Creative Companionship Services
The next thing to consider is what might be included in ‘companionship.’ Ideally, the two of you will not simply spend the day vegging out on the couch watching daytime television. Companionship and especially interactive caregiving services do suggest doing things. You are well within your rights to request that they join you in laidback activities like working puzzles, light gardening, sorting small items, or cooking meals together. If you want to do more extravagant things like throwing a dinner party or host a book club, these should be alright, but you’ll want to plan them with your caregiver rather than making assumptions.
Then there’s transportation. The vast majority of caregiver services include the opportunity to be driven around and not just to and from your appointments. If your service includes driving, you can also freely ask your caregiver to take you to relative’s homes, your church, the senior center, and other fun, low-key situations where you’re caregiver can enjoy themselves with you.
The final category will have to do with the specific caregiver services you’ve requested, as that will have determined both the person your caregiver agency sent and what they expect to do. If you only have a companionship and emergency response service, your caregiver may help you sort and remember your medications, but that is often the extent of their involvement. Other services that are clearly defined are things like personal physical care, memory training, and post-hospital care for specific recovery requirements. That said, if you feel particularly bad or your condition is deteriorating, don’t hesitate to talk to your caregiver about what you need.
Spending time with your caregiver can be a great deal of fun, especially when you know what it is safe and polite to ask for. In general, if you mind your manners and remember that your caregiver is a person with their own thoughts and experiences, your time together should be enjoyable and peaceful. If you have an idea for passing the time, bring it up and discuss how the two of you can do it together.
Comfort Keepers has highly trained in-home caregivers that can help you and your loved one get the care that they need. Even if you want to do something unusual, the chances are high that your caregiver will be more than willing to pitch in. For more information about caregiving or to find a helpful caregiver near you, contact us today at 877-698-9394!