This is part of a series of articles that walk families through the process of working with a home care agency. Additional topics include how to have a conversation with your loved one about home care, aligning expectations with home care agencies, and choosing between residential options and at-home care. Click here for our full series of articles on home care.

As time goes on, and your loved one and the caregiver establish a routine, things can go wrong! 

Caregiver might act not act in accordance with expectations of family

As compassionate beings, we want to please others. Sometimes we make decisions that seem harmless, yet in the bigger picture create conflict. When a family sets limits, it’s important that the caregiver follow these directives rather than make exceptions that can cause potential hostility between family members, or worse yet, danger to the client.

Caregiver might become less reliable

Each of us is part of an intricate web that usually comprises responsibilities and obligations to family and friends. A caregiver may face unexpected challenges at home and become less reliable as an employee. 

When a caregiver calls off for a shift, the agency must fill those shifts to uphold their contractual agreement to provide care in the home. Depending on a variety of circumstances, the person who fills a shift at the last minute is likely to be unfamiliar with your loved one. While the agency has ‘done its job’ by filling a shift, it can sometimes be less than ideal for the client to unexpectedly greet someone new into the home.

The best-case scenario is to have more than one caregiver with whom your loved one is comfortable, so that when there is a call-off, another team member is prepared as a ‘familiar face’ to fill the shift. Home care companies may find this to be one of their biggest challenges, as securing coverage for last-minute call-offs can be fraught with difficulty.

Decline creates new needs

The progression of a client’s decline may require a more advanced level of care that goes beyond the scope of what the caregiver can provide. In extreme cases, relocation to a skilled, secure setting may be in the client’s best interest.

Spending up to 12 hours a day together and being involved in many personal activities of daily living each day usually generates a close bond between client and caregiver. If the relationship needs to be severed for any reason, it will be considered a loss for which the client – and family – may grieve. 

This is part of a series of articles that walk families through the process of working with a home care agency. Additional topics include how to have a conversation with your loved one about home care, aligning expectations with home care agencies, and choosing between residential options and at-home care. Click here for our full series of articles on home care.

About the Author

Karen Faith Gordon specializes in providing support to individuals and families addressing issues of aging. Services provided include mental health counseling, grief counseling, patient advocacy, medical care coordination, real estate and placement guidance to address short and long term care needs, and adaptive yoga for optimal well being.

In a system fraught with bumpy rides, Karen provides guidance, direction, and reassurance to achieve optimal well-being for older adults and those caring for them.

Karen’s ideal client is someone who is facing the challenges of a spouse/parent/loved one who is experiencing cognitive or physical decline. This client seeks guidance and support from a knowledgeable expert to create a plan to address short- and long-term needs.

Her relationships with clients, colleagues, and providers of care reflect years of collaborative effort to achieve best outcomes. She has presented to audiences locally and nationally to educate on topics of care management, affordable health care, and the benefits of yoga and aging.