10 Things to Discuss With a New Caregiver

10 Things to Discuss With a New Caregiver
carer and elderly lady

You've finally found a great personal in-home caregiver or companion for your parent, and tomorrow is her first day. But wait: Have you forgotten to tell her anything? Use this list (and adapt it to your parent's needs) to make sure you've covered the bases. After discussing it with the caregiver, give her a hard copy for reference (mail it to her if you live far away). That way you can relax, knowing your parent's needs will be taken care of.

Medications

Make sure they're accessible and clearly marked, and that the caregiver knows when they need to be taken and in what amounts. Also let her know whether your parent prefers swallowing them with water or juice.

Food and Drink

Note your parent's food and drink allergies, sensitivities, likes, and dislikes. Be detailed -- for example, explain that your parent shouldn't drink coffee after 3 p.m. because it prevents him from sleeping; that seafood gives him hives but fish is OK; or that ice cream is his favorite treat on a hot day.

Eating, Cooking, and Cleaning

Should your parent be encouraged to prepare food and clean up for himself as much as possible, or does he need help with these tasks? If he needs help feeding himself, is it enough to cut food into small pieces for him, or does he need help getting the food to his mouth? What about tidying up the house -- does your parent make his bed or do his own laundry, or is this beyond his abilities?

Napping and Sleep Habits

When does your parent like to snooze, how long does he typically nap, and is he most comfortable in a chair or his bed? Does anything special help him rest, like soft music or pulling the blinds?

Bathroom Needs and Habits

What assistance does your parent need to use the bathroom? Is he completely independent or does he need assistance sitting down or getting up from the toilet, reaching for toilet paper, wiping, taking on or off his pants, washing his hands afterward? Is he prone to constipation or diarrhea? If so, what helps (a newspaper to read, being left alone, avoiding certain foods)?

Body Temperature

Is your parent prone to feeling too warm or cold? Can he express this, or should the caregiver ask him or touch his skin? At what temperature should the thermostat be set? Does your parent like an open window and fresh air? A blanket on his lap?

Around-Home Activities

What are your parent's favorite TV shows, radio stations, and card or board games? What does he enjoy doing at home? Does he like surfing the Internet, reading, or doing crossword puzzles? What about his dislikes? Does TV grate on him? Does he hate making conversation or is he a chatterbox?

Exercise and Outings

Does your parent take walks, and if so, where and for how long? What about car drives or outings to the mall, a museum, or a movie? Does he garden or spend time outside? Does he need help or reminders to put on a jacket, hat, or sunscreen? Should he be encouraged to get up and walk around, or does he need a reminder to use his walker? Does he have any indoor-exercise routines?

Friends and Other Social Contacts

Who can your parent (or the caregiver) call if he wants company or is feeling lonely or down? List names, phone numbers, and the relationships to your parent. Do any of these people ever stop by to visit, or should they be invited? What's their availability?

Emergency Contacts

This should include you, other key family members or friends who can be called in an emergency, and your parent's doctor and dentist. Obviously, you'll need to include names; home, office, and cell phone numbers; and e-mail addresses if appropriate.


over 1 year ago, said...

This is a good checklist to use for anyone settling into a new or modified caregiving routine. Every elderly person is so unique. I would copy this and leave room to make notes about the person's preferences. If there are any special considerations regarding their personality, going over this list would offer an opportunity to go over that as well. Some elderly people have shocking mood swings that can indicate a health problem. Crabbiness shouldn't be taken personally. Etc., etc.! Oh and how often do children want to be updated...daily, weekly?


over 1 year ago, said...

It is comprehensive--many more points than I would have thought of, and I agree they are important.


almost 2 years ago, said...

it is nice I have some idea to be learn.


over 2 years ago, said...

Although I do have a few hours per week of personal care help for my dad who is 90 and has Parkinsons, I am the primary caregiver in my home for both of my parents. This list reminded me of my role as companion and provider of entertainment. This is my most difficult challenge. My mom needs more stimulation but my dad's physical needs exhaust me, so my mom's mental/emotional needs are somewhat neglected. I have one sibling who could help me in this area but doesn't. After a long winter, I did at least get my mom out to the hairdresser today. But it is getting more difficult since we have to hire an aide any time I leave the house.


over 2 years ago, said...

very helpful, as I don't always think from the personal attendant's perspective, since I'm already taking care of mom. This article points out some things that I might have otherwise not thought of, like what tv programs she likes, or who my mother can call if she's feeling lonely. Both good suggestions, that I might overlook.


over 3 years ago, said...

I've been absorbed in online and physicians conferences study of Alzheimer's for two years. I have assembled a Caregiver/Spouse notebook especially for my 82 year-old husband's case. This is the single most important thread I've found with extremely important information that is secondary only to my husband's health history and related medication. Sections applicable only to his case are filed directly behind emergency procedures. Hardly a day goes by that I do not edit/discard/tweak/update/merge information for my guide. I am grateful for the expert advice published on this website.


over 3 years ago, said...

I am currently building a new care giving business and wanted to look at your check list to make sure I haven't over looked anything. It is always a good idea to check information and explore new ideas and options. We all want the very best for our elderly angels in our communities. Thank you for providing such a heart felt website. Karen Carter


over 3 years ago, said...

yes ,very great,,,and helpful.....


almost 4 years ago, said...

I recommend you agencies because it details what tools are neede to become a successful.


almost 4 years ago, said...

I am looking for a care giver position in the gaylord area, I have over 10 years experience. My last patient was the owner of Murdock Fudge and he passed away last year. I love helping others and i love and respect the elderly. Please help.


almost 4 years ago, said...

I'm looking for a job as a care giver or health aid


over 4 years ago, said...

hi yes i am a 18 year female with years of experience taking care of someone i took care if my mother who a recovery cancer patient who is now able to take care of herself since she has got been and i wanted to take care of someone else because through the years of caring for my mother it has bung us closer together and bettered our daughter mother relationship


almost 5 years ago, said...

I am looking for a caregiver position with your company I have close to thirty years experience my children are older now anad I am ready to reclaim my place in the work force and aspire to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner on the field of geriatrics which is my speciality especially in the alzheimer care and parkinsons.


about 5 years ago, said...

I am in process of changing companies and it helps me in my decision process


about 5 years ago, said...

Great checklist. Very good info. Hired a wonderful caregiver, who did everything, but as parents progressed I learned that this person would not administer rx's or even touch meds. Upon further questioning learned that C.M.A. certification has lapsed and had not been renewed, therefore was forbidden to administer rx's. After yet another serious health incident, parents had to go to assisted living. Kept caregiver once a week while they were in asst. living to take them out, shopping, etc. Later, this person aided in their leaving against my specific wishes. I have DPOA on both. (Please be certain that a family member has Durable Power of Attorney) Parents are not able to take care of themselves. No question about it. Had to end relationship. Sad.


about 5 years ago, said...

Great checklist. Had a caregiver who was wonderful but would not administer or touch rx's. Not good.. Upon further questioning learned that her C.M.A. had lapsed and did not renew. Mystery solved. Not the caregiver anymore. Sad...


about 5 years ago, said...

Good guide for families thinking about taking a much-needed respite--checklist of items to cover for an in-home care person.


about 5 years ago, said...

Read this once before and intended to type up something to have on hand. Thanks for the reminder. Would certainly make that initial meeting flow better. Thanks


about 5 years ago, said...

I am in process of finding new companion care and these questions will help with the interview


about 5 years ago, said...

thank you for great information.


about 5 years ago, said...

i did not know of all the help that is provided. THNAK YOU.


over 5 years ago, said...

It confirmed what I already knew. I was looking for validation or anything I might have overelooked.


over 5 years ago, said...

Great advice...


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