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Is It Time to Fire Your Elderly Parent’s Caregiver?

Home healthcare worker with senior female at home

You’re fired.

Two words no one wants to hear. They’re also two words most of us don’t want to say.

It’s hard firing someone. But sometimes it’s necessary, especially when the person in question is the caregiver you’ve hired to look after your elderly parent.

In some cases, the need to fire a caregiver is immediately apparent: they’ve come to work drunk or you caught them stealing or were physically or mentally abusive toward your parent.

But the situation might not always be that black and white. If you think it might be time to let go of your parent’s caregiver, here are some steps you should take.

Nurse aide putting bandage on senior man1. Don’t be hasty

Firing a caregiver is a big step. Before you act, try to determine the exact nature of the problem. It might be that the issues at work are minor and easy to address.

2. Set your expectations

Your parent’s caregiver isn’t going to live up to your expectations if they don’t know what those expectations are. Make sure you create a contract that outlines their duties to make sure everyone is on the same page.

You can also try making a checklist that details everything you expect a caregiver to do, from must-do tasks like meals and medication to “nice-to-have” things like keeping music on for your parent.

Keeping notes3. Keep a record

You might not witness any overt wrongdoing or neglect on the part of a caregiver. Maybe you just get a bad vibe. Or maybe there was a one-time mistake that you’re worried is part of a larger pattern.

Whatever the case, the road to potentially firing a caregiver should start with documentation and observation. After you speak with the caregiver, write down a few notes about how their day with your parent went and if there were any problems.

Son talking with confused father4. Talk to your parents

Your mom or dad might be the best resource you have for determining whether it’s time to consider firing a caregiver.

After all, they’re the one that spends the most time with the caregiver. Find out if they did everything that needs to be done. Ask about their attitude and see how your parent feels about the caregiver.

Senior man talking with aide at home5. Give them a warning

Firing a caregiver shouldn’t come as a surprise. Try to issue a warning as a way to prevent things from getting to the firing stage. Tell the caregiver about what you’ve observed and what you’ve learned from talking to your parent and let them know you’re considering terminating their employment.

Give them a set time – two weeks, a month, etc. – to correct the issues and make it clear that if things haven’t changed by then, you’ll need to let them go. If you’ve hired the caregiver through an agency, let the agency know that you’ve given this warning.

6. Keep it professional

You’ve given your caregiver a probationary period, but they weren’t able to turn things around. If it’s time to end things, do so professionally. Keep your emotions out of it. Say things like “This wasn’t a good fit” and accept responsibility for how things played out.

If the caregiver objects or gets angry, point out the things that you’ve already documented. And if you think the caregiver is good at their job but just a bad match for your parent, tell them you can recommend them for future positions.

7. Use what you’ve learned

Firing a caregiver means needing to hire someone else to care for your parent. Use what you’ve learned from this experience to decide which qualities you want – and don’t want – in your new caregiver.

And if you have further questions about dealing with caregivers for the elderly, be sure to check out the rest of our blog. We’ve been writing about this topic for the past few months.

It’s all part of our mission at Pennsylvania Stairlifts: making sure your parents feel safe and comfortable at home. We’re happy to do our part by installing top-flight stair lifts and other modifications. Contact us today to learn more.

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