You’ve decided that it’s time to bring elder care into your home to help you or a loved one with many of the activities of daily living. Whether it’s for just a few hours a week or around the clock, you’ll be entrusting someone new with your care in the place that’s the most private—your home. Although you may be anxious about this new experience, there are things you can do to make this transition smoother for you, your family members, and your caregiver.
Many people fear loss of privacy and have anxieties regarding disruption of their home and family routines. It is important to maintain as much normalcy as possible. When preparing to share your home with your caregiver—or a team of caregivers—consider the following to help ease the transition:
- Ask yourself, “How can my care team respect my privacy?” This may help you determine boundaries for your care team.
- Don’t be shy about communicating your rules and expectations prior to your elder home care professional coming to your home. This will help create a positive environment for you, your family, and your home care professional. For example, where should they park? What door should they use to enter? What restroom should they use? A dry erase board is a great way to help with communication and organization.
- Maintain private areas of your home for yourself and your family if possible. Establishing boundaries or “off limit” places may be helpful to maintain your family’s normal routine and privacy.
- Organize your supplies and other items your caregiver may need. If you are receiving personal care (eg, help with bathing and dressing), you’ll want to make sure your clothes and toiletries are easy to find and access. The same is true for your cooking utensils and equipment if the caregiver is providing meals.
- Set up a place for your caregiver to write any home health care documentation notes, hang their coat, and store their food.
- Share details of your normal routine with your care providers so that they have an understanding and can adapt. For example, let them know what time you like breakfast; whether you dress before or after you eat; and if you like to go out for a walk.
- Welcome their questions—they’ll want you to make sure they aren’t overstepping their bounds as well.
- Share any cultural or religious considerations with your care team that are important to you and your family, such as preferred language or food restrictions.
Like many seniors, you may be apprehensive about having elder home care. Preparing your home and yourself for this change is the best way to help make it a positive experience.