10 Things to Discuss with a New Caregiver
By Kate Rauch
You’ve finally found a great personal elder care caregiver or companion for your parent, and tomorrow is her first day. But wait: Have you forgotten to tell her anything? Use this list (and adapt it to your parent’s needs) to make sure you’ve covered the bases. After discussing it with the caregiver, give her a hard copy for reference (mail it to her if you live far away). That way you can relax, knowing your parent’s needs will be taken care of.
Make sure they’re accessible and clearly marked, and that the caregiver knows when they need to be taken and in what amounts. Also let her know whether your parent prefers swallowing them with water or juice.
Food and drink
Note your parent’s food and drink allergies, sensitivities, likes, and dislikes. Be detailed — for example, explain that your parent shouldn’t drink coffee after 3 p.m. because it prevents him from sleeping; that seafood gives him hives but fish is OK; or that ice cream is his favorite treat on a hot day.
Eating, cooking, and cleaning
Should your parent be encouraged to prepare food and clean up for himself as much as possible, or does he need help with these tasks? If he needs help feeding himself, is it enough to cut food into small pieces for him, or does he need help getting the food to his mouth? What about tidying up the house — does your parent make his bed or do his own laundry, or is this beyond his abilities?