What to Do When Your Caregiver is...

Bossy, lazy, or grouchy.

By Clare Absher RN, BSN  

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Caregiver and elderly patient back to back not getting along.

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What to Do When Your Caregiver is Bossy?

Some caregivers tend to be very bossy which can be quite intimidating. Therefore, from the start you need to set the right tone whenever possible. Actively participate in developing your plan of care or rely on a family member to delegate tasks to your caregiver. Allow some mutual decision making, however, be clear that agreement is not necessarily required. Departmentalizing certain aspects of your care enables your caregiver to have some authority but not complete control.

For example you might ask your caregiver to manage medications for you, but that you will decide on bath and hair washing day. Perhaps you encourage your caregiver to take charge of your walks and exercise schedule, but you determine your meal times. Or maybe you both take turns on choosing restaurants for lunch outings. Compromising in this way is often effective at tempering a bossy caregiver.

What to Do When Your Caregiver is Lazy?

A lazy caregiver is not someone you should ever be expected to keep employed. However, before you fire your caregiver for laziness be sure to determine whether this is really the problem. He or she may simply lack initiative, which can be overcome with good communication and sensible guidance. You may wonder why bother with this extra effort, but if your caregiver is a gentle and compassionate soul, then it may be worth the trouble. Many clients complain that their caregiver sits around and doesn’t look for work to do on their own. Ask your homecare agency to provide a written plan of care so that your caregiver can check off chores as they are completed. The agency should review and update the plan of care as needed with your participation. Request certain extra jobs be added for your caregiver to do when spare time permits. For example ask that your caregiver perform extra housekeeping chores such as cleaning the microwave or refrigerator when needed. Help with organizing a photo album or gathering your favorite recipes can be a fun project to share with your caregiver. Clear communication of your expectations may encourage your caregiver to become more resourceful and reduce idle time. However, within reason, limit your efforts on a caregiver with serious lack of motivation as a lazy caregiver cannot be tolerated.

What to do When Your Caregiver is Grouchy?

Nobody likes being around a grouch and especially one that is your caregiver. Keep in mind that caregivers can be overworked, over tired, and have personal problems of their own. Confronting them might help, but can easily back fire causing additional grumpiness. A sympathetic ear is more likely to be welcome by politely asking how he/she is doing or about their family. Caregivers may feel their needs are often overlooked; therefore, simply expressing your concern can go a long way. Ask your caregiver for some ideas to make work more pleasant such as choosing restaurants together, games and outings that you both enjoy. Being happy and positive is contagious so keep your rapport light-hearted. Beware not to fall into the trap of hearing too many caregiver requests and complaints. Defusing a grouchy caregiver can usually be accomplished by placing an emphasis on mutual respect.

Clare Absher RN BSN

About the Author

Clare Absher is a Registered Nurse with 44 years of experience. Most of her experience is in home health serving as a caregiver, educator, patient advocate, and liaison between families and community resources. She has also worked in acute care, assisted living, and retirement settings. She is passionate about helping families care for their elderly loved ones at home.

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