You’ve finally found a suitable caregiver for mum. The caregiver is in your mum’s home) and is looking after her while you’re at work.
While you are happy to have this worry resolved, you now need to make sure the services being extended to your mum is being carried out as required.
How can you do this?
Here’s a list of seven things you can do to make sure your mum is happy and healthy at home while ensuring the caregiver is doing her job appropriately.
• Drop in unexpectedly or call. The element of surprise is best. Whenever you can, and preferably on a random schedule, drop in and see how your mum is doing, and what the caregiver is up to.
Ensure the caregiver knows you are watching. Once there, look around. Is everything neat and tidy? Has your mum been fed? Taken her meds? Bathed? Trust your gut instincts.
• Consider video cameras. Having small cameras installed throughout your mum’s home is not as expensive as it once was. You can even access the live stream on your phone or computer.
Just ensure all the cameras you’ve installed are in proper working condition. The caregiver might complain but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
• Ask for a daily report. While your caregiver is usually quite busy, she will often have some downtime, such as in the evenings. Ask the caregiver to send you a report each day.
It doesn’t have to be complex, or long, but simply a text message describing the day’s activities and any abnormalities or issues the caregiver might have seen.
• Have the ‘care manager’ check in regularly. If you’ve hired a caregiver through a company, ask their care manager to stop in or call each day, or every few days, to check on the status of your mum and to remind the caregiver if some of her duties aren’t getting done.
• Talk to your mum. Mum knows best – so ask her if she likes the caregiver. Is she happy? Is there anything else she needs? Is the caregiver compassionate, friendly and considerate?
• Look for foreboding signs. If you visit or call the caregiver (or the manager), ask about general health and wellness signs: Is your mum losing weight?
Did any bedsores crop up? Is her wound okay? Does she seem unhappy? Is she getting colds or the flu more often? Does she seem weaker?
Any signs that seem to differ from when the caregiver first started should be noted and addressed, however, any good caregiver will do this for you even before you ask.
• Let your neighbours know what’s happening. Do you have close neighbours you trust, and who are generally at home when you’re not? Let them know you have hired a caregiver to look after your Mum and to alert you if they see anything fishy happening.
Finally, if you see any signs of elderly abuse, such as new bruises, a change in your mum’s attitude or mental stress, consider removing your caregiver right away until resolving the situation with the agency, and finding a new caregiver.
This article was written by Andrew Mastrandonas, Co-founder and CEO of Pillar (www.pillarcare.com) and reviewed by Dr Lim Geng Yan (M.D). Pillar provides a range of elderly home caregiving services, sending trained and certified professional caregivers and nurses to clients’ homes. For more information please visit https://care.pillarcare.com/fmtpromo