If you have hired a professional caregiver, as my brothers and I have for our mom, then you have another voice, another variable in the mix. If your caregiver is a part time helper, then you have someone who sees your elderly parent in snippets of time. Like looking briefly through a window. If your caregiver is a twenty-four hour a day caregiver, then you have a whole different set of concerns. This brief blog cannot cover both — only the part time caregiver is addressed here.
Our caregiver, I’ll call her Donna, sees Mom twice a week for a few hours each day. Her total interaction is eight hours a week. We talk with her employer at least once a week to get feedback, and we make sure that certain things are being accomplished for Mom (laundry, cooking, etc.).
Mom initially wanted nothing to do with a person coming to help her in her home. Today, a few months after Donna has become a part of Mom’s new routine, she looks forward to seeing her. She looks forward to cooking with her, and tells me about the projects they are doing together.
Donna cannot replace Mom’s three children (my two brothers and I), but she can provide needed interaction, needed routine help, a smile and a hot bowl of soup. Donna’s presence is a welcome, healing touch, as any good caregiver’s presence should be.
If you are considering bringing someone into your loved one’s home to help care for them, do your research. Find a reputable company (Donna works for “Comfort Keepers” — they are wonderful) and interview people. Look for reviews of their work. Ask for references. You would do no less if you were hiring a new employee to work for your company. Due diligence is required here, too. And remember, Mom loves seeing you. Just like we always have to remember that our best efforts are fine, but giving Mom a hug in person. . .well that’s irreplaceable.
Keep sharing your stories with us. We enjoy hearing from you.