Caregivers Need to Maintain Solid Relationships with Care Recipients to Maintain Better Quality of Life
Families should consider how well a caregiver matches the personality of their loved one. The better the relationship, the better the quality of life the care recipient will have in a long-term care situation.
When someone needs help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia, professional caregivers can provide a better quality of life and reduce family stress. However, caregivers and care recipients should have a solid relationship.
You would think that if a caregiver and the care recipient have a good relationship, the overall quality of life for the person being cared for would be better. Research has shown this to be true. Closer caregiver-care recipient relationships are associated with stronger functional and cognitive abilities.
The bond between a caregiver and a care recipient is unique. The relationship calls for effort, patience, and so much more. However, conflicted relationships, such as distrust or disagreement in treatment plans, can lead to a further decline for the care recipient and added stress on the caregiver.
For individuals with Alzheimer's, a better relationship between the caregiver and care recipient can be even more critical. A 2009 study by Johns Hopkins and Utah State University researchers suggests that a particularly close relationship with caregivers may give individuals with Alzheimer's disease a marked edge over those without one in retaining mind and brain function over time.
Constantine Lyketsos, M.D., M.H.S., the Elizabeth Plank Althouse Professor in Alzheimer's Disease Research and director of the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center, says there are clear benefits of having a caregiver with a strong relationship with the person they are caring for.
The difference in cognitive and functional decline over time between close and not-as-close pairs can mean the difference between staying at home or going to a nursing facility.
When caregivers have a good relationship with their patients, it creates a better experience. There are several ways caregivers develop a positive patient-caregiver relationship.
Family Caregivers Face Strained Relationships
Family caregivers may already have a solid relationship, but it is often strained since family caregivers are untrained and unprepared for the role. The very personal nature of being a caregiver can also be embarrassing for the care recipient when that caregiver is a loved one.
While a professional caregiver may be trained, building a solid bond will benefit both. Working as a caregiver is a fulfilling but often challenging profession. One of the most essential parts of being a caregiver is building relationships with patients and their families.
When the family is interviewing potential caregivers, they need to consider how the caregiver may get along with the potential caregiver. Family members will know whether the potential caregiver is a good match for their parent.
Families should encourage their loved one to build trust and a relationship with the caregiver as it will improve the overall quality of life. Trust is built over time, and the family should also maintain a relationship with the caregiver. The caregiver will also feel better about their role, knowing they have the family's support and involvement.
Creating conversation is the first step to developing a positive caregiver-care recipient relationship. If the caregiver doesn't open up the floor for dialogue, they end up putting up a wall between them and the care recipient. This is something everyone wants to avoid.
Caregivers should engage in upbeat, casual conversation with the care recipient to learn more about them, make them feel more comfortable, and gain their trust. Families should encourage their loved one to talk and embrace the caregiver in conversation.
Dialogue is also essential when determining the needs of the care recipient. There should be a discussion of the plan of care with the care recipient and their family. The care recipient should be open to what they need so everyone can better understand. Discussion of their care plan with the caregiver helps the caregiver better understand what they need from the caregiver emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Caregivers Should Be Active Listeners
Being an active listener builds a strong caregiver-care recipient relationship. Everyone needs to listen, including the family. Caregivers should listen to what the care recipient and their family is saying.
When care recipients feel heard and understood, it makes their overall experience more enjoyable, makes their treatment more effective, improves their quality of life, and allows them to trust their caregivers more easily.
Sometimes a care recipient has difficulty speaking or struggles to get sentences out. Caregivers should be patient, giving the person their full attention to ensure they understand the concerns they are expressing. Families can be helpful as they may, especially at first, be better able to express what their loved one is trying to say.
Caregivers Should Be Kind and Empathetic
Being kind and empathetic is also essential for a good caregiver. Nobody wants a caregiver who comes across as harsh, cruel, or just downright mean. Good caregivers will be as kind as possible in every interaction with the care recipient. A good caregiver will empathize with their situation and circumstances and be as understanding as possible. It can be challenging for many care recipients to accept the fact that they need a caregiver, but it will be easier for them to make this transition into care if they have a kind and supportive caregiver who offers empathy and positivity.
Good Caregivers Respect Care Recipients Wishes
It's also necessary for a good caregiver to respect the care recipients' wishes when building a strong relationship with them. One of the significant benefits of having a good patient-caregiver relationship is that it enables the caregiver to give patients the best possible care and treatment.
The more the caregiver talks to the care recipient and listens to their wishes and concerns, the better able they are to meet their needs effectively. It's important to remember that the care recipient and their families should always have a say in their treatment and care plan. If they are uncomfortable with something a caregiver is doing, the caregiver needs to respect that and find a better solution.
The caregiver/care recipient relationship can become stressful over time. Caregivers often will need to get the person they are caring for to do things the care recipient might not want to do. The best caregivers put in a lot of effort to know their patients, improving the overall experience for everyone. The stronger the relationship, the better the overall outcome will be.
Most Long-Term Care Delivered at Home
If your loved one is experiencing declining health or aging problems, understand that most long-term health care is delivered at home. While some people may desire or need a facility like assisted living, you have many options for in-home caregivers.
Understand that long-term care services are not usually covered by health insurance or Medicare. Unless someone has a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, these costs will be paid with someone's income and assets. The LTC NEWS guide, Finding Quality In-Home Care, can be beneficial.
Medicaid will only pay for long-term health care if an individual has little or no income and assets. While it may be too late for an older loved one to obtain Long-Term Care Insurance (depending on their age and health), the ideal time to plan is when you are younger and healthy. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s. LTC Insurance will help your family address the costs and burdens of your future aging and declining health.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
When a family is seeking a caregiver for a loved one needing long-term health care, they should consider the caregiver's qualifications, experience, personality, and temperament. It's crucial to find a caregiver who is skilled and competent and a good match for the care recipient's personality, interests, and lifestyle.
When a caregiver and care recipient has a good relationship and rapport, it can have a significant positive impact on the quality of life for the care recipient. The care recipient is more likely to feel comfortable and at ease with the caregiver, which can help them feel more relaxed and content. This can lead to better emotional and physical health outcomes for the care recipient, including reduced stress levels, improved sleep quality, and overall better well-being.
Quality care is costly, and most long-term care services will not be paid for by traditional health insurance, including Medicare. Prepare now so you can choose quality care services without burdening your family or draining your assets.
Long-Term Care Insurance pays for quality care. Most people get coverage as part of retirement planning in their 40s or 50s.
Aging - A Significant Risk
Long-term health care is becoming increasingly expensive. Medical research has allowed us to live longer, but this has also increased the need for help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia.
Medicare and health insurance only contribute minimally, if at all, to the future expenses of long-term health care. The financial impact could change your legacy and lifestyle.
Family caregiving is demanding, and most adult children will be unable to provide care in the future. Professional caregivers are expensive, and assisted living and nursing homes are also very costly.
Being prepared will give you access to quality care options when you need them without burdening your loved ones or draining your 401(K) and other assets.
For many families, affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is the solution.
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Make sure you seek out expert advice. A knowledgeable Long-Term Care Insurance specialist can assist you in navigating the many options from all the top insurance companies. Premiums vary over 100% between insurance companies, and each has its underwriting rules.
A general insurance agent or financial advisor lacks this expertise.
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Have Questions About Long-Term Care Planning?
You may have questions about long-term health care planning, and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions. Find all the tools and resources that are available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning.
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Loved Ones Need Help Now?
Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.
If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea.
If your parent or parents need help, be sure to get them quality care. LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.
Start by reading our four guides -
- Finding Quality In-Home Care | LTC News
- Adult Day Care Centers (ADCCs) | LTC News
- Assisted Living and Memory Care Facilities | LTC News
- Finding a Quality Nursing Home | LTC News
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Some people have a large portion of their savings in their homes. With the help of reverse mortgages, you can find ways to pay for quality in-home care, pay for LTC Insurance, and even assist with cash flow during retirement.
Yes, today's reverse mortgages may be the perfect way to pay for a Long-Term Care Insurance policy or even cover the cost of in-home care if you or a loved one is currently in need.
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