How to Approach Caregiver with Problems or Concerns

You’ve finally found the caregiver who is “just right.”  Your parent/grandparent loves her, you know she’s capable and competent, and the situation has been more than more than satisfying….until now.  All of a sudden, problems are beginning to crop up.  Perhaps the caregiver has gotten too comfortable in her role as caretaker and has begun instituting her own rules.  Perhaps she has been late to her last few shifts.  Whatever the reason may be, if you have cause for concern, you may be wondering how to approach the caregiver.

First of all, it’s commendable that you’ve recognized there is a problem.  Staying in close contact with your loved one and his caregiver is extremely important.  Now that you’ve identified an area of concern, you can take appropriate steps to address and correct the issue.

  • Set a specific time to speak with the caregiver.  Leaving a conversation like this “up to chance” will only prolong your anxiety.  As soon as you’re aware of a problem, call the caregiver and request a meeting.  If you feel it’s appropriate, include your parent in the discussion, but be careful the caregiver does not feel ganged up on.
  • Speak honestly.   No one likes confrontation.  It may be your natural tendency to sugarcoat the issue or even make excuses for the caregiver’s unacceptable behavior.  This approach will not do anyone any favors.  The issue will likely continue, and you will feel worse.  Speaking frankly is the only way to address the concern in a way that will yield results. 
  • Be specific.  Let the caregiver know exactly what your concern is.  While making it clear that you appreciate her hard work, strongly remind her that you expect her to follow the guidelines that were set up in the very beginning.  You can do this in a non-threatening way, but don’t back down if she begins to argue.  If there is more than one problem that needs to be addressed, make sure you cover them all.
  • Encourage the caregiver to speak her mind.  This discussion should be an open conversation between you and the caregiver.  Ask her how she feels about her work, and what prompted the unacceptable behavior.  Is she feeling overworked?  Does she need more specific guidelines for daily tasks?  Is there a personality conflict that makes communication difficult?  If you can address any concerns the caregiver has, you will be more successful in solving the problem.

After you’ve discussed the problem with your parent’s caregiver, it’s important that you closely monitor her behavior in the future.  If the problem persists, a second discussion is necessary.  Be more forceful during this conversation, reminding the caregiver that her position is in jeopardy.  Whatever the unacceptable behavior is, let the caregiver know it will not be tolerated any longer.  If you don’t see any progress after this second discussion, it’s time to look for a different caregiver.

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