We’ve hired a lot of caregivers over the years. I guess when you’re looking at a 25-year run, that’s pretty much how things go.
Some have stayed with us a long time. Some too long. And some haven’t lasted 6 months. Unfortunately, turnover is unavoidable despite best efforts mainly because caregiving is a tough job.
Looking back, I would say that each of Ben’s caregivers brought a slightly different set of skills to the role. They, also, portrayed different levels of confidence, and brought a different feel to the role.
Some have had a really strong work ethic. These are the keepers. They anticipate what needs to be done and just do it without being asked.
Some have brought a high level of positive energy that is contagious. These people can pick up anyone’s spirits.
Others have faked their way through it. They are good at looking good but they aren’t really engaged or interested in making a difference. They excel at doing the bare minimum.
And then there were those who are high maintenance from day one. Needless to say, they didn’t last very long in the role.
No matter their makeup, the one characteristic that has made these relationships work well was trust. It’s the glue of any relationship.
When trust is high, communication is easy.
When communication is easy, you can talk about almost anything. And that becomes really important since their relationship with Ben is a very private one. You can also sense when things aren’t quite right with them because the level of communication is more advanced and nuanced.
But trust is not automatic. It’s something we have to work at, and practice every day. That can be tough to do when we’re struggling or stressed. If we’ve just put in a sleepless night with Ben and feel like throwing up, we just want his caregiver to take the reins. But that can’t happen unless the trust is there.
At the end of the day, above everything else, the absolute best way to building a really great caregiver relationship is to create a culture of trust.
This is what we’ve learned on how to create that culture.
(1) We have to be trustworthy, ourselves.
Ben’s caregivers need to know that we are looking out for them and will support them in their role, even though they are really there to support Ben, and ultimately us.
(2) We need to demonstrate respect.
Ben’s caregivers have their own challenges and personal lives. They are not the “hired help”. There needs to be give and take. If they need time off to move or go to doctor’s appointment, we need to figure it out how to make that happen. It will build our trust with them and show them this is how we do things around here.
(3) We must always be open, honest and authentic.
I think that is self-explanatory.
Creating a culture of trust is just one of the 10 (best) practices we’ve discovered to have a great relationship with our caregivers. To learn more about building a great caregiver relationship, get our 19-tips Caregiver Guide ... it's free!
-- Mike --