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Coaching 101: Engaging Senior Caregivers

I have been a Caregiver Coach for nearly three years and love that I have been able to make a difference within families across the country. I come from a background of working one-on-one with families in Assisted Living and Memory Care facilities and have been able to translate that experience here at Ceresti, where we work remotely with family caregivers, but want to provide that same level of support and guidance.

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We ask our family caregivers to be completely open and honest with their coaches in an effort to truly understand their struggles, triumphs, and stresses to help them to effect change. In order to ask that of someone you have never met, I believe you must first establish a relationship built on trust. Interestingly enough, I use our tablet-based health station as a way to begin a trusting relationship with my caregivers.

 

Most of the caregivers I work with are older, and, in some cases, have never used a tablet. Initially, they are often intimidated or flat-out resistant to using a new piece of technology. I take that as an opportunity to show them that I am there with them step by step, navigating them through the tablet functions until they are successful. I remain patient and understanding, and step in to help when needed. As they develop success using the tablet, I am sure to let them know just how great they are doing and try to build their confidence with their new tablet and myself as their coach.

 

Throughout this “start-up” process, I focus on more than just the tablet; I am able to ask questions about them and their loved one, and we usually intertwine a friendly chat with an otherwise intimidating task. By the end of that first call, I make it a point to leave off on a positive note and reassure them that they have taken a huge step towards bettering their lives and learning new things to help them in their role as caregiver. It is often quite amazing to see how comfortable and open they become with me, and we go on to build our relationship from there.

 

Author: Nicole McPherson