What if I or my family member doesn’t get along with a home attendant?
We know how intimate this work is and how important it is that you and your family feel good in the relationship. That said, it’s worth putting the time in to improving the relationship. Sometimes awkward or difficult interactions can be a result of expectations not being clear. If the relationship isn’t going well, it might be time for a structured check in. It’s a good idea to compensate the worker for this time but make it separate from regular work hours.
If the person getting attendant support is an aging relative and not yourself, it is a good idea to check in with your relative first and bring her/him into the conversation with the worker as well.
In this check in, you can ask the home attendant how she thinks the relationship is going or if there are any concerns she wants to share. Often the home attendant’s concerns might expose something that is getting in the way of a positive working relationship. If not, you then have an opportunity to share what your experience has been and make specific requests. This is a time you can let her know that you feel that way. She may just have had different expectations.
If it’s helpful, you can record some of these expectations in your work agreement and set another check-in in about a month to see how it’s going.
If you’ve been really clear about changes you’d like to see and the relationship doesn’t improve after repeat discussions, it could be that you and the home attendant are not a good fit.
What if I employ a home attendant who takes advantage of or makes me or a family member feel unsafe?
That falls far short of the goal of a positive, mutually supportive relationship. If physical or verbal abuse of the senior or the person with a disability is taking place; the abuse or endangerment of a child; or theft or compromised security in the home, this may be grounds for immediate termination of the job.