Caregiving can be an enormously rewarding experience, but it can sometimes lead to difficulties for the person giving care. You can lessen the possibility that your employment will not work out if you do some planning and are clear about some of the aspects of this work.
First, remember that when you are caring for someone’s aging relative. It is often a situation which makes the family nervous. They don’t know who you are or what you are like or what you will do. It doesn’t matter how wonderful a person you are, it just takes time to build trust. Also remember that people may be feeling guilty about having someone else take over the caregiving tasks, even if they are exhausted from doing them. The guilt may make them overly critical or difficult.
Sometimes live in caregivers have felt like the family servant, and not a caregiver. This can be avoided to an extent if you clarify terms and conditions in advance. It is helpful if you write up an agreement and you both sign it. You have as much right to respect and fair treatment as the person you are caring for and your employers.
You will most likely go for an interview. An interview is also your chance to decide if you want to work for the people. You have as much right to ask questions of them as they do of you.
Before you accept employment:
- Develop a clear understanding of the problems, illnesses, or disabilities with which you are going to be dealing with.
- Be honest about the things you know and do not know. If you do not know something, tell them you will try to learn, or ask for them to help you get some training.
- Get a list of tasks you are responsible for. Is it personal care, or are you going to be expected to be cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, picking up children from school, or more?
- Be clear about what you will be paid, and if out of that, the family will be taking taxes or other deductions.
- Be clear about how often you will be expected to work, the exact hours, and for how long.
- If you are going to be working as a live in caregiver, be clear about your
- Time and days off are going to be.
- Overtime expectations and salary
- The accommodations, what will be supplied, and what you are expected to pay for.
- Meals on your days off
- Find out if you need to have some kind of personal or government insurance, such as long term disability.
- Ask the employer if they have had other caregivers and what the experience was for them.
- If you are expected to drive, find out what the requirements are regarding insurance and liability.
- If you feel at all uncomfortable with the person employing you, or the situation, do not accept it. There will be other situations in which you will feel comfortable.
- Make sure someone else knows where you are going, and how to contact you, especially in the beginning.