Communicating Effectively with Long-Term Caregivers
As our loved ones age and their need for long-term care increases, we may begin to feel helpless for not being able to care for them and afraid of what will happen if they need to move to a long-term care community. Will they get the care that they need? Will they make friends? Will they be happy? All kinds of questions may come to mind at a moment like this and all of them can become increasingly daunting. Once the decision to move to a long-term care facility is made, you will find that your questions won’t fade right away, but at least during this time of uncertainty you will have a team by your side.
According to Edward Toy, Director of Sales and Marketing at Lions Gate, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Voorhees, New Jersey, long-term care staff will not only be invaluable to your loved one, but to yourself as well. “When moving to a long-term care community, you will quickly find that the team members in long-term care will become some of your greatest friends,” he says. “During a difficult transition such as this, the long-term care team will be there to guide you and your loved one while providing all the care and assistance they need. Because this can be such a difficult time, it can sometimes take longer for relationships to form between long-term caregivers and family, but it is important to realize that the benefits to opening up and communicating effectively is essential to ensuring a smooth transition into long-term care.”
WHY COMMUNICATION IS IMPORTANT IN LONG-TERM CARE
- Talking encourages relationships. During the transition to senior care, your loved one usually starts out knowing no one. Some of the first people that they meet are the caregivers. They will be there to talk to your loved one and will encourage them to go out and talk to other residents and over time these relationships build into close friendships. If your loved one doesn’t communicate with the staff or other residents, they can become depressed from the lack of socialization. This can turn into poor communication and that can cause unhappiness and anxiety. It can also cause you to become dissatisfied with the facility and the care your loved one receives.
- Communication paves the way for a higher level of care. Not only will your loved one trust their caregiver more, but the caregiver will be able to effectively care for your loved one as a result of knowing exactly what is wrong with them because your loved one is so comfortable with them. Not only that, but the more your loved one and their caregiver talk about your loved one’s interests, the better the caregiver can encourage participation in activities they know your loved one is interested in. As a result of this communication, your loved one will get more involved and be happier.
- A strong relationship with the staff can benefit you. The more you talk to the caregiver about your loved one and the more questions you ask, the better. Your loved one’s caregiver can help to give you a realistic view of your loved one’s situation and their accomplishments or setbacks. They will end up being one of your main sources of honest information, as your loved one may hide certain problems from you. You may also need the caregiver’s support and reassurance at times that everything is alright.
“All of these are good reasons to communicate with staff.” Ed states, “The problem is usually where to start. At first it may feel awkward and strange, especially given that so much is uncertain; but over time, communicating with long-term care staff will be something you wish you had done sooner.”
4 WAYS TO FOSTER COMMUNICATION WITH LONG-TERM CARE STAFF
- Talk about your loved one’s likes, dislikes and interests. By letting their caregiver know what they love and what makes them tick, it will make it easier for them to care for your loved one. If your Dad’s name is William but hates being called “Will” make sure the caregiver knows that. If the caregiver is told ahead of time that your loved one is not a morning person, they can plan accordingly. If the caregiver knows what activities they like to do and what they are interested in, they will have common ground to talk about ahead of time. This can help to make the transition easier and encourage settling in.
- Talk to them about yourself. Introduce yourself and find some common ground with them. If you have fears and worries, open up to the caregiver and feel free to ask questions. Write questions down as they come up in your mind, whatever you need to know, the caregivers are there to help you and your loved one through this difficult time. If there are certain times you’d like to be called, such as when your loved one has a rough night or seems “off”, let them know.
- If there is a problem, act respectfully. If your loved one has memory issues and often has a hard time with misplacing items or accuses the caregiver of stealing, take a step back. Talk to the caregiver calmly and see what they have to say. It’s possible your loved one just misplaced the item and couldn’t find it. By getting angry, blaming and name calling, you are just hurting the relationship that took so long to build.
- Let them know you appreciate them. Being a caregiver can sometimes be a thankless job. Let your loved one’s caregiver know that you appreciate the time, effort and care that they put in to make sure your loved one was well taken care of at all times. Give them a card or bake them something. The littlest things can make them feel appreciated.
LIFESTYLE. CARE. COMMUNITY. TRADITION.
“At Lions Gate, we treat your loved ones with respect and care. We place value on providing a resident-centered approach and providing high-quality programs to keep your loved one happy and engaged,” says Ed. “We strive to provide compassionate and innovative services in order to ensure the best care available for your loved one.”
If you are considering long-term care for your loved one, call or visit us today.
EXPERIENCE LIFESTYLE, CARE, COMMUNITY AND TRADITION AT LIONS GATE.
Lions Gate, located in Voorhees, NJ, offers a continuum of lifestyle and care options rooted in Jewish traditions and values. Whether you are in need of Independent Living,Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing or Rehabilitation Services, Lions Gate has you covered.
Our mission at Lions Gate is to enrich the lives of those we serve through quality and compassionate care consistent with our heritage and values. We strive to provide programs and services that inspire well-being, as well as social, cultural and spiritual independence.
As a full-service community rich in wellness programs, meaningful experiences and educational opportunities from Lions Gate University, Lions Gate allows residents to connect with those who share their interests and cherished traditions. Our goal is to provide residents with an active, worry-free lifestyle filled with ways to connect with others, pursue their passions and be engaged in everyday life. While we focus on Jewish customs and traditions, we welcome people of all faiths to the Lions Gate family.
Through our affiliation with Jewish Senior Housing and Healthcare Service, we also offer three senior living communities for those with limited incomes.