If you have a caregiver in your life – I mean someone you've hired, not a family member – then you know how good it feels to have that person around to support you, even if it's only for a few hours a day.
You don't want to lose that. But eventually they're gonna quit and there's nothing you can do about that. So what do you do?
It's happened to us on a few occasions and a couple of times we were just blindsided by the news. The first one was about ten years ago.
I was sitting in the evening and the phone rang, and the phone rarely rings in our house. And it was Lisa, Ben's caregiver, so I picked up the phone.
I said, “Hello.”
“Hello, Mike? This is John.” Now, John is Lisa's husband.
“I just want to tell you that, that she's worked her last day with you after all the things you've done to her and how poorly you've treated her.”
“I'm just calling to say that, that she's never coming back!”
So I'm sitting there thinking … “okay, I've never really met John but what is he trying to say?”
Lisa just left here, you know, 20 minutes ago and she said okay I'll see you guys tomorrow. Everything was great. And actually I could hear Lisa's voice in the background.
So I said, “Okay, can I talk to Lisa? She was just here a little while ago.”
Long story short, he wouldn't let me talk to her and proceeded to tear a strip off me. And after about a few minutes of listening to his insults and, you know, even saying things that we owed her all kinds of money, I just said, “Okay, I've got to go!”
So I sat there and I didn't really know what to say … and I couldn't really figure it all out. Something just wasn't right and, you know, in the shock of it all I thought,
“Okay, so she's not gonna be here tomorrow, and actually tomorrow is a pretty busy day at work. Okay, what are we gonna do?”
And then I thought, ”Okay, what are we gonna do next week?”
And then, “Well my goodness, how can we live without a caregiver? Ben needs someone around him and we can't, we can't let this happen…”
So then it went from sort of shock and then into anger thinking why couldn't Lisa just at least have the decency to tell us that she that there was things wrong and and why couldn't we, you know, work something out?
And then it went to guilt that how did we miss all of this? You know, we've let Ben down now that he's without somebody. But, of course, we were setting ourselves up to fail because we only had one Lisa. There was only one person. There was no backup and we really were left in quite a bind.
After we climbed out of that mess, though, we thought, you know, what we need to figure out is how we'll never get here again. And in the end we actually wound up hiring four people. We had a primary caregiver to replace Lisa. We found a backup person. We found an overnight person for the very few times that we go away but we needed someone there. And we had an education assistant. And that all sort of took place over the next three or four months.
And what we learned through that was that there really is a step-by-step formula to bringing a great person in your life and that's where the whole Caregiver Support Formula Program began back then.
We had this happen a bit recently to us when two of Ben's caregivers actually gave their resignations within four weeks of each other. One person, you know, gave us all kinds of notice which helped us to get things done and figure it out.
But the other person, who was Ben's primary caregiver … I didn't quite understand why she did it that way … she only gave us a couple of weeks notice and actually called in sick for the last three days.
Fortunately, though, we were already in the process of looking to hire somebody. So, we found that person within a within a couple of weeks and everything kind of worked.
But as I sat through that and kind of processed that, it reminded me of the Lisa situation of ten years ago. And we actually got through the whole process a lot quicker.
And so if this happens to you and … even I mean it doesn't have to be losing a caregiver, it could be losing something else in your life or things that you're not expected to lose … the things that you should do … there's really four steps that we follow.
First step is to just process it. Flush your emotions. Get rid of them because they're gonna stand in your way. You know, we went from shock to anger to guilt to, you know, we didn't know what we were gonna do.
But just get through that whole process as quickly as you can.
The second step is for you just to get organized, okay. If you've lost a caregiver or you know there's somebody that they've given the resignation, then get yourself organized as quickly as you can.
And be prepared to be … it's gonna take probably at least you know five or six weeks for you to find the right person.
The third step is to hire a backup person. Back in the Lisa days we didn't have a backup person and so we were setting ourselves up to fail.
So once you've got the first person brought into your life then hire a second one and maybe even a third as a backup. You want to have a good complement of people to handle different situations.
And the fourth step, and it's probably the most important, is you need to nurture that relationship. You know, once the honeymoon period is over after they've started, you know, things are great and everyone's thankful and everyone's excited to be there … and the day to day stuff sinks in becomes maybe more mundane or more complicated and things …
That's the time when you need to really open the communication channels with your caregiver to make sure the things are going okay. You know, because caregiving is a tough job and you need to be there to support them as much as they want to support you.
If you get through those steps I guarantee that you'll have a good working relationship and things will be okay.
Hey, if you want to learn more about the Caregiver Support Formula Program that I talked about, then send me an email at [email protected].
We're here to help. We want to help you be successful.
Take care and keep soaring!