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Getting started with a caregiver: To-Do List

Belvedere Home Care checklist.jpgOnce you decide that home care is the right decision for you and your loved one, the next step is to seriously consider the mental and physical transition of bringing a new person into the home and routine. Even if you are confident that you are making the right choice, that first day can be awkward and tough.  

Here are some tips that can make the transition to home care easier for you, your loved one and your caregiver.

Easy access

  • Make sure your caregiver has access to the following information for everyday routines and in case of an emergency.
  • Phone numbers for doctors, social workers, pharmacy and emergency contacts
  • Phone numbers for yourself and other family members
  • Phone numbers for trusted neighbors
  • Medication schedule
  • Physical activity or therapy routines
  • Allergies
  • Special dietary requirements, whether for health, culture or religion
  • Advance directive or living will instructions
  • And other relevant and helpful information

Preparing the home

For safety, privacy and positivity, it’s a good idea to prepare the home for a caregiver, whether they are dropping by for a short period or part of a 24-hour care rotation.

  • Install anti-scald devices in showers, tubs and sinks
  • Check the batteries in smoke, fire and CO2 detectors, and install more detectors where needed.
  • Install "grab bars" in the shower and bath
  • Install motion sensors and other security features that alert to a lack of motion
  • Consider alarms on doors that will help prevent seniors with dementia from wandering out of the home
  • Don’t be afraid to deem some areas as off limits to caregivers to help your loved one and your family maintain a sense of privacy.  
  • Organize your supplies and other items your caregiver may need to perform their duties to provide easy access. This can include toiletries, clothing, linens, cooking utensils and even pet supplies
  • Provide a welcoming, designated place for your caregiver to put their coat, purse, any personal belongings and their food.
  • Install a dry erase board for daily notes and reminders to and from your caregivers.
  • All of Belvedere’s caregivers are carefully screened, including a complete background check. While you can trust your Belvedere caregiver, there still may be things you would like to keep private and out of sight. For everyone’s legal benefit, secure sensitive personal items, valuables and documents in a locked desk, a home safe or an off-site safety deposit box.
  • If you would prefer to maintain privacy with incoming mail, consider forwarding mail to another address or securing a Post Office Box.

Discussions with your caregiver

  • Share religious and cultural considerations with your care team, such as clothing, preferred language, daily routines or food restrictions.
  • Be open about your rules and expectations – don't make a caregiver guess or assume that they will know what you want to have done. Having everything set out from day one will make the transition to a new caregiver easier for everyone.
  • Talk about practical issues such as parking, which doors to use and if there are any areas that are “off-limits.”
  • Share details of the normal routine – mealtimes, favorite TV shows, going out for a walk, bedtimes, etc. – with your care providers
  • Welcome their questions—The more questions they can have answered the better they can meet your expectations and seamlessly become a part of your loved one’s life.

Discussions with Your Loved One

  • Be positive. Talk about the free time they’ll have when they aren’t burdened with routine household tasks and point out the things they are still doing on their own. Talk about their ability to continue making choices and living their lives and that they are still in charge of their own household.
  • Let your loved one help decide what duties will need to be performed in the home and help them design the program and schedule for their caregivers.
  • Bring your loved one’s health care team on board to talk about the benefits of home care for their health, safety and happiness. Sometimes those discussions are easier to have with a professional than with a child or other family member.
  • Interview caregivers together and value your loved one’s opinion and input. They might feel more open to the idea once they have a hand in making the decisions.