Many home care aides work hard to get along with their clients. But, it’s not always easy for a young, healthy caregiver to relate to an older home-bound senior. In addition to an obvious “generation gap,” clients and workers also sometimes face cultural challenges and lifestyle differences.
While there’s no sure-fire way to guarantee perfect harmony, these 7 tips can help to foster great client relationships:
1) Ask Questions – It's good for caregivers to be inquisitive without being “nosey.” Asking questions about duties and client preferences helps to ensure daily responsibilities are being met. But, they can also be used to break the ice and learn about a client’s personality and interests.
2) Provide Dignity – One of the biggest complaints among seniors is that younger folks don’t treat them with dignity. It’s sometimes easy to misinterpret ailing health for cognitive impairment. However, many physically unhealthy seniors are mentally sharp.
Professional caregivers should shouldn’t “talk down” to clients or use “baby talk.” They must also remember that they are guests in somebody’s home. It’s critical to use common courtesy and knock on doors before entering rooms.
3) Go Above & Beyond – Customers always like it when a business goes the extra mile to provide great service, and home care clients are no different. Great caregivers do things like neatly folding laundered clothes and tidying-up at the end of work shifts. Excellence comes in attention to detail, and clients really appreciate it when home care aides show that they truly care!
4) Engage in Activities – Sometimes a caregiver may perform daily duties up to par but fail to otherwise engage her client. Home care aides should always try to include seniors in appropriate activities, such as watching television together, playing board games or going for walks. Caregivers won’t always become friends with clients, but it’s better if they do whenever possible.
5) Always Be Honest – Caregivers can demonstrate their integrity by being transparent about call-offs, schedule availability and technical abilities. Home care aides should never make up fake excuses for being late or missing a shift. Not only do agencies see through the lie, but clients also detect deception.
6) Be Reliable – As previously addressed, it’s always best for caregivers to be honest about why they miss a shift or arrive late. However, home care aides should try to prevent such incidents altogether. Reliable workers quickly build trust with clients and benefit from stronger relationships.
Reliability also factors into completion of assigned tasks. Many home care clients are immobile and are not always aware if duties are completed as assigned. However, they usually learn the truth over time.
7) Stay Professional – While friendships with clients are great, it’s important for caregivers to maintain professionalism by not sharing their personal problems or family drama. Clients will often lend a sympathetic ear to their aide, but they’re secretly put-off by the conversations. Most seniors have enough stress in their own lives and don’t benefit from hearing about their caregivers’ problems.
In the end, most home care aides are genuinely concerned about the well-being of clients. However, the relationships can still be strained given the complex dynamics of caregiving and home-setting sensitivities. Effective caregivers find ways to bridge the gaps in order to develop sincere friendships with the people they serve!
If you’re a professional caregiver seeking employment in Kern County, be sure to apply with the region’s top home care agency today!