Strategies to Help You Say Goodbye to a Caregiver and Hello to Another

By Michelle Cemental

Saying goodbye to a person with whom you share a bond is never easy. But it can be particularly difficult for a senior who must say goodbye to a trusted caregiver. The keys to a smooth transition from one caregiver to another are preparation and an open mind.

Below is a look at some steps you can take to make saying goodbye easier and some ways to help you extend a warm welcome to a new caregiver. 

Why Saying Goodbye Is Difficult

If you are like many seniors who have a caregiver, you spend more time with your caregiver than your children, friends, or other significant people in your life. When you spend an extended amount of time with a person on a regular basis, it is natural to develop an attachment to that individual. And even if the two of you do not always see eye to eye, you likely feel safe and comfortable with your caregiver.

The prospect of having to start all over again with a new caregiver can seem a bit frightening and overwhelming. It is normal to feel a mixture of sadness, anticipation, worry, and anxiety. You may find yourself asking the following questions:

  • "How am I going to adjust to a new caregiver in my house?"
  • "What happens if my new caregiver and I do not get along?"
  • "What if my new caregiver does not understand my needs like my current caregiver does?"

Steps to Make Saying Goodbye Easier

As much as you are not looking forward to saying goodbye to your trusted caregiver, you can take comfort knowing that you have the power to make the process easier. Here are some simple steps you can take to make the most of your last day together and say goodbye to your caregiver with grace.

1. Make your last day together a special one

When you know your caregiver's last day with you is approaching, there are some simple things you can do to make the day special for you and your caregiver. For instance, you can plan to prepare your favorite meal and dessert together. Or you can go to your favorite park together.

2. Take a photo together 

If you do not already have a photo of you with your caregiver, ask a friend or neighbor to take a few photos of you together. Place your favorite in a special frame and find a special spot for it in your home. You may also wish to give one to your caregiver on your last day together.

3. Stay connected after your caregiver departs

Reaching out to say hello to your caregiver periodically may not be possible due to agency policies or caregiver preferences. But if your caregiver proactively provides their contact information and invites you to stay in touch, then you can remain in contact.

Here are a few other ways to see how your former caregiver is doing:

  • Request a subscription to your caregiving agency's e-newsletter to receive agency updates and news about current and past caregivers.
  • If you happen to be on social media with your caregiver, you can follow their activities online.
  • Send a card during the holidays and on your caregiver's birthday.

4. Share your positive story with others

If you had a positive experience with your caregiver, you can gain closure by sharing your story with others. This process helps in three key ways.

  1. Telling your story is a reminder that you once started from scratch with your existing caregiver.
  2. You will inspire countless people who read your story.
  3. It helps you achieve closure on a rewarding chapter in your life as you begin a new one.

How To Welcome a New Caregiver with an Open Mind

An open mind is essential to ensuring that you and your new caregiver start off on the right foot. Focusing on the potential for a positive relationship is important.

Here are three 3 you can do to welcome your new caregiver with an open mind:

1. Request some background information in advance

Knowing a little bit about your new caregiver prior to their initial arrival can help you be prepared for your first day together. Most agencies will provide you with some general information about your new caregiver. For example, you should know the caregiver's name and gender so you can extend a genuine greeting. Even if you only have limited details, they can help you plan for your caregiver's arrival.

Caring Senior Service takes this idea a step further. We facilitate the transition by introducing you to your caregiver before your first visit. This helps you break the ice before care officially begins.

2. Plan something special for your caregiver's first day

Believe it or not, your new caregiver may also be a a bit nervous about meeting you. So imagine how pleasantly surprised they would be if you have a warm welcome planned for your new caregiver. For instance, you can make a welcome sign to hang on your front door or place a small bouquet of flowers on the table in honor of your new caregiver.

3. Take time to learn about your new caregiver

When your new caregiver arrives, do not be shy about getting to know them. Here are a few icebreaker questions that can help get the conversation flowing between you and your new caregiver:

  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • How many children or grandchildren do you have?
  • Of all the cities you have ever visited, what is your favorite?
  • Do you like animals?
  • What is your favorite TV show or movie?

Goodbyes are rarely enjoyable. But they can be especially challenging if you have to say farewell to the person who has cared for you for a long time. We invite you to contact the Caring office near you to discover how we can help you make the transition from one caregiver to another one a smooth one.

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Tags: Caregivers, Home Care