When a good in-home caregiver loses enthusiasm, how can I get her back on board?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom's in-home caregiver is a good person. She's reliable and works hard, and the two of them get along well. But lately, after almost a year on the job, she seems less upbeat and enthusiastic. When I ask if everything is OK, she says it is. Any ideas?

Expert Answers

Peter Notarstefano is the director of Home and Community-Based Services for the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, an umbrella organization of nonprofit nursing homes and adult day care centers.

You're doing the right thing by asking your parent's in-home caregiver how she feels. Being honest and direct is the best way to encourage a caregiver to be the same way with you.

Burnout is common among caregivers, as it's a demanding profession. Ask yourself a few questions: Is your parent's caregiver overworked? Are you asking for too much work or too many hours? Is your caregiver underworked, bored, or not making enough money to make ends meet? Does your caregiver feel respected and treated like a professional?

Talk these matters over with your parent's caregiver in as neutral a way as you can. If someone is working out well, it helps everyone -- you, your parent, and the caregiver -- to keep things running smoothly by making adjustments as needed.

Perhaps you need to cut down on work hours, review job tasks, or add a second or third caregiver to the mix. Is your caregiver doing more housecleaning or personal care than she anticipated? This is a good time to update your parent's needs and the tasks your caregiver is willing to do.

If your caregiver is bored, your parent might be, too. Plan more outings or activities that break the monotony for both of them, like seeing movies, concerts, or plays, or going shopping or to restaurants. Of course, the ability to do this depends on your parent's condition, but even simple trips or walks can be stimulating.

If your parent's caregiver isn't getting enough hours to make a sufficient income, she could be worried or depressed. If the caregiver is from an agency, talk to agency staff about the situation. Maybe there are ways for her to add hours by working with another client. If you've hired an independent caregiver, maybe you can help her get more work hours. Spread the word among friends. Perhaps you can increase her salary, even a little.

Community Answers

Ginnilee answered...

I also suggest finding a substitute so the caregiver can take a long vacation- burnout's easy, and most caregivers try to do more than they really have the energy for and/or just need a break! I speak from personal experience as a caregiver for my mom, who's now in Alzheimer's care. <>

Alzheimer's symptom: answered...

We paid our professional caregiver more than she asked. She was always happy to offer extra hours, work part-time on holidays, and step in when not scheduled.

Misty0072 answered...

Yes burnout is so easy, my job ended Friday after he passed but I took care of him and his wife for eight months then him up until this last Friday, im grieving you grow attached living in, I had no support no time off , she had metastic breast cancer that had spread and he had parkinsons, im truly just lost im burntout still you don't leave these jobs feeling better I wish I knew the answer to feel better, I guess time heals everything