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Ultimate Caregiver Tips

Hiring a new Caregiver? Here are some helpful tips for when hire a new caregiver for your loved one at home:

● Consistency and structure are the keys to making sure your loved one receives the care they deserve.

● Try to create daily activities for your caregiver to do with your loved one, such as taking a walk, puzzles, card games, cooking together, crafts and music time. Please be sure to make a list of your loved one’s favorite movie shows and the times the shows are offered on tv. Please also do not forget to teach the caregiver how to use the remote, TV remotes differ and the remote can be complicated.

● Write down the best times for these activities to occur, keeping things consistent is super helpful for your loved one. Leaving a list of things to be done regularly, maintains consistency for your loved one, while at the same time caregivers know to be flexible!

● Allow for time to for you and your loved one to adjust, however, if you feel a caregiver is not a fit, call the agency after the shift is over. Communication with the agency is critical. Give concrete examples as to why it did not work out what you feel went wrong. Try not to take it personally if a caregiver may not want to return to the job. It could be the caregiver feels it simply is not a good match for their skills. Open communication and collaboration with the agency is critical.

Caregiver Communication with older adults who are cognitively impaired or have short term memory loss

Communication with older adults with cognitive impairment requires unique training and sensitivity. Poor communication from family, care staff or friends can cause the older adult to become depressed, withdrawn, or even silent.

Here are some tips for communicating with older adults with cognitive or memory impairment:

1. Structure and consistency are critical with care and daily activities, stick to a routine.

2. Do not argue or debate with them. Please.

3. Do not remind them that they are forgetting… it can cause frustration and
sadness for the older adult.

4. Prompting and filling in is appropriate for example, you may fill in nouns for them if they are struggling to remember a name. Labeling names of items or places may help too. Remind them of your name, “hi dad it is Jacqueline”. If he says “no kidding,” maybe say “Just wanted to remind you of the beautiful name you named me.” Or “dad, Sara, your caregiver just arrived.” Reminding your loved one of the name will ease frustration, without being demeaning. Sometimes, just giving your loved one a hug goes a long way.

5. Do not speak about them in front of them. Please go in another room or if
not possible, ask them: “is ok if I report a few issues today about how you are feeling to the doctor?”

Usually, it is not appropriate to speak about someone in the third person, it may cause depression or lower someone’s self-efficacy. If a physician or medical person talks “over or through them” in other words ignores that they are present, please advocate and correct the professional…Ageism should not be tolerated.

6. Signs and written communication are very helpful. You may want to label
where the bathroom is with directional arrows, or the exit door with large signs.

7. Redirection is so important. When someone is having a hard time, try to ask them about someone or some pleasant event from their long term memory, such as “mom remind me of what sport you played in high school.”

If you know your parent loves a sports team? “How about those Yankees?”

Anything to get them off the subject or matter that is bothering them or they may be obsessing about.

Written by Jacqueline DuPont-Carlson, PhD, EdD, Gerontologist

For more questions, please contact an advisor at Assured In Home Care at (800) 925-7159 

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