For those who are just beginning the process of home health care to those who have been around the block a few times, the fact remains the same that inviting a stranger into your home can be an uneasy experience. Although families and agencies, alike, strive for a smooth transition, there may still be an element of friction that naturally rides alongside allowing someone to come into such a vulnerable and personal space. For people who are not used to having others assist them in activities such as feeding, dressing, and bathing – that discomfort can evolve into levels of stress and anxiety.
However, there are some ways for you and your caregiver to start to feel more comfortable immediately that will help your overall transition and the quality of the care you receive.
Introducing your new caregiver to your favorite game – whether it is a board game, a card game, a trivia game, a video game, a lawn game, or something else entirely – is an excellent way to start to feel comfortable and get to know each other. Games are a lighthearted way to initiate conversation without feeling awkward or obligatory. A healthy dose of competitiveness will help to humanize you both and if it is possible to play a game on the same team – it will help to inspire a sense of camaraderie.
Icebreakers, activities so-named because they are designed to “break the ice”, can be a perfect way to get to know someone and begin to feel more comfortable. One classic icebreaker is called “Two Truths and a Lie”. In this game, one player tells the other player/s two true facts. These facts can be personal or general knowledge. The player also tells a lie – some made-up bit information. Without telling the other player/s which ones are the truth and which one is a lie, the other must guess. If they pick correctly – they win the round!
Most people’s favorite subject to talk about? You guessed it – themselves. Get to know your caregiver by simply asking them some questions about their life, where they’re from, different family traditions they have. Sharing your own stories along the way will help to bridge the gap and the both of you will learn new and interesting things along the way.
Finally, never forget to ask them why they became a Home Health Aide in the first place. Hearing them talk about what motivates them and what they enjoy most about the work they do will assure you that they are comfortable and happy to be working with you.
All of these activities can be done one-on-one with you and your caregiver or with family members, as well. Including your family can be the best way to break down any walls and settle into this new routine because the trust and love you share will help to make the acclimation more comfortable.