Is it time to let a senior client go?
What most of us hear when it comes to having a caregiver hired for a senior is how it did not work out and the caregiver had to be let go. Let us reverse the roles and try to understand that sometimes it is the caregiver that needs to let the senior client go. If you feel like you have exhausted your ability to provide valuable caregiving services to your client then it could possibly be time to move on.
Having to let a senior client go happens more often than caregivers would like to admit. This situation must be handled with care given the personal nature of the relationship between a caregiver and senior client. If you are a caregiver reading this article then you now know that you are not alone.
Private caregivers need to be careful when it comes to taking on more responsibility. Often times a private caregiver will go above and beyond the duty and take on more of the care requirements. This should be discussed during the terms of service agreement before you take on any senior client long term.
As senior clients continue to age their activities of daily living (ADLs or ADL) change as well. As an example, you may have been hired by a family to provide caregiving services for their senior loved one who had early stage Alzheimer’s and now is showing signs of advanced to late stage signs of the disease. The care needed between early and late stage Alzheimer’s can be very different and you may not be prepared mentally, emotionally or physically as a caregiver.
Another possible situation may be that your client has suffered many mini strokes or one major stroke and requires a higher level of daily care.
You may feel you need to make a change because you are unable to communicate effectively with family members of a senior client, and it may be a current source of stress. These examples are only a few of the reasons why you may let go of a senior client go.
One thing that is for sure is that change is inevitable and as a caregiver your ability to adapt is what will make or break you as a caregiver to seniors. You must have clarity about what your strengths and weaknesses are in order to offer the most valuable services to your senior clients.
How to let a senior client go
- Be Honest
You have a choice to make when you come to a crossroad point with your senior client and it is never an easy one. Your job and and main responsibility as a private caregiver to your senior client and their family members is to always be honest and speak up when you feel it is necessary. Word of caution; brutal honesty is rarely received well. The key is to be direct yet kind and empathetic towards their situation.
- Give advanced warning of your departure and help with transition
3 scenarios will present themselves:
a) You took the family by surprise and shocked them completely because they thought everything was going well but in fact it is not and you feel a different care provider would be better suited to the senior.
b) The family knew things were not perfect but thought time would iron everything out and be a perfect fit for the family and senior.
c) The family is happy you are both on the same wavelength and even has a new caregiver in mind. Whatever the situation may be both parties are not in unison when it comes to the care needs of the senior involved, and nothing is more important that making sure the seniors needs are put first. Regardless you should always offer at least two weeks to ease the transition and offer any support that may be of help to the family or senior themselves.
- Prove as a business Owner that you have the families best interests at heart
Being direct and explaining your reasons in a very uncomplicated and compassionate way may be a sting or a relief but either way the family will respect you more for putting the needs of their loved one(s) first above your own.
- Provide a Referral
Do your best to try and be ready to offer a replacement that may be a better fit for the caregiving position. Even if you do not know of a caregiver whom you work with that will be a good fit, you can send a list of reputable homecare agencies. Another option is to send the family caregiving related websites where they can locate another private caregiver. The family will appreciate the offer and most likely take care of it themselves but never the less you are doing the right thing by attempting to make the situation a little easier on the family.
- Leave on good Terms
Keep the lines of communication open, positive, and stay in touch. You never know where this working relationship will take you in the future.
You might second guess yourself for 2 reasons
- Loss in income: It is important to trust your instincts and listen to what your gut tells you to do. Remember that lost income will only be temporary and that your happiness and peace mean more in the long run. Make the change when you know it is the right thing to do.
- Poor reference moving forward: Face the situation head on with tact and grace and you will be able to move on without guilt and keep the relationship intact.
Trust that your caregiving services are valuable and that your next client will benefit from your services. Truth be told, at times caregivers often feel that they must be all things to every senior to please and serve their client. Caregivers wear many hats and it is in fact a very necessary skill to have if you plan on being a successful full time caregiver but, you must focus on your strengths and why you were hired for the position in the first place. Accept that things and circumstances have changed and that you must adapt based on your caregiver skill set.
Think of it in terms of your own life. Would you want a caregiver who could try to take care of your needs, or would you rather have a caregiver who you are 100% confidence in and knows how to take care of your daily needs. This seems like it should follow with a simple answer but often times the lines become blurred between business and it being personal.
At the moment there is a huge wave of caregivers needed as the baby boomer age. People in general are becoming educated about what a caregiver is and what types of services that they can provide for seniors. Caregivers are much more visible to the public in homes, hospitals, and residences. The demand for senior assistance will hopefully attract many compassionate and caring people to consider a caregiver career.