How do I let a stranger take care of my loved one?

This post, discussing ways to connect with a loved one’s care team, is part of a series exploring the different questions that come up when searching for senior living solutions. Follow along in our “What is Senior Living?” series to learn more about the ins and outs of senior living.

“How do I let a stranger take care of my loved one?” This is a question we hear often when a person is searching for the best situation for their senior loved one’s care needs, but are struggling with guilt and uncertainty.

Mai, who has been caring for seniors for the past 10 years, recently went through this situation in her personal life. She found this particular topic an emotional one to approach, so we asked her to share her story. She understands, but also knows that to the families that she serves, she is not a stranger.

When considering a move to senior living, it is important to get to know the people caring for your loved one. Ask about team culture. Take the time to share a bit of yourself with the care team. You may find they become a valued friend to you and your family.

caregiver and resident at Farmington Square in Tualatin, OR

Ways to connect with your loved one’s Care Team

The caregivers who care for your loved one spend a lot of quality time with them, quickly becoming a care partner with them. However, for family members who do not have that same quality time, there are still ways to connect with care teams so that you can feel secure in the care decisions for your loved one.

On the tour

The first part of feeling comfortable with making a care decision is in the tour process. You will have time to see how care teams engage with current residents. The following ideas may help you in your decision process as to whether the community you are touring is the right fit for your loved one:

  1. How are the caregivers engaging with the residents? Do you see a friendly familiarity? Are they respectful?
  2. Say hello to a caregiver and ask a question of them! When touring, if you see an opportune time, introduce yourself to a care team member, housekeeper, or server. Ask them about ways that they get to know their residents and how they personalize their care.
  3. Discuss with the administrator what the company culture is like there at the community. A happy team is often a sign of an engaging community.
Caregiver and resident from Sweetbriar Villa in Springfield, OR

As you visit

Once you have made the decision for a care community, you have several opportunities to connect with your loved one’s care partner. Some suggestions:

  1. When you visit, check in to see which care members are caring for your loved one. Get to know them by name, talk to them about your loved one’s care, and take a little time to get to know them (as they are able, of course.)
  2. Go to events! Join caregivers, residents, family members, and the rest of the staff at community activities and events. It is a great way to see the engagement and to get to know those who care for your loved one.
  3. Take part in care meetings. Care meetings are your opportunity to truly create a partnership with the care team and overall care plan for your loved one.

For those who have entrusted the care of a loved one to a care community, how have you created a relationship with your loved one’s care team? Share in the comments below!

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