As you may know, my family cared for my mom at home for the entirety of her Alzheimer’s journey. There were many factors that allowed us to do so successfully—one of them being hiring in-home care.
It wasn’t exactly a smooth transition, but there were several things we did that made it successful in the long run. If you are interested in reading about the process in much more detail, I suggest reading my second book When Only Love Remains: Surviving My Mom’s Battle with Early Onset Alzheimer’s.
For now, here are my 6 tips for starting in-home care for your loved one:
1. Meet the caregiver first. This will give you a chance to tell them about your loved one without your loved one being present. It’s helpful to provide a list of your loved one’s likes and dislikes. You can also get a feel for if the caregiver will be a good fit for your loved one.
2. Be clear about your expectations. Make a list of the daily and weekly tasks you want the caregiver to complete. If you don’t want your loved one watching TV all day, tell them. If you want them to make a healthy lunch for your loved one, tell them. If you want them to do the laundry on Wednesdays, tell them. This will avoid miscommunication and resentment when tasks aren’t completed as expected.
3. Don’t introduce the person as a caregiver. Your loved one will probably not like the idea of someone coming into their home to take care of them. They may not even think they need help. Introduce the person as a housekeeper or friend instead. This may help ease your loved one’s resistance or anxiety.
4. Start with just a few hours a week. This will allow your loved one time to adjust to a new routine and having a “stranger” in their house. Starting with too many hours may be overwhelming for them. You can add more hours and days of the week as your loved one adjusts.
5. Start with companion care first. Don’t have the caregiver assume all tasks and responsibilities for your loved one to start. Ease into the transition. The caregiver can take on larger tasks such as toileting, bathing, and dressing as your loved one becomes more comfortable with them.
6. Give it time. It probably won’t start off smoothly. Your loved one needs time to adjust to the caregiver and their new routine. They may be more agitated or upset at the beginning, but hopefully they will adjust within a few weeks. If not, don’t get discouraged. Try using a different caregiver to see if it’s a better fit.
Is there anything you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments!
***Please note that there are many reasons why home care may not be an option for your family. Everyone’s experience is different and you have to do what’s best for your family. No shame, no guilt, no judgement—no matter what! We’re all doing the best we can!
*If this post resonated with you, you should check out my mentoring services for Alzheimer’s daughters.
**If you liked this post, you would love my book “When Only Love Remains: Surviving My Mom’s Battle with Early Onset Alzheimer’s.” It’s available on all Amazon marketplaces.