Social Security Disability Benefits: Paid Caregivers As Friends
I recently saw an article about paid caregivers that struck home. Many disability claimants need the service, and some are caregivers for parents who are even worse off. My experience with my Mother who had Parkinson’s for many years makes this more personal. She was lucky enough to have many loving caregivers who were family and friends, as well as paid caregivers. The author of this article, Donna Thomson, was kind enough to allow me to post it here. Her contact info is listed at the end of the article.
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” Albert Camus
Jim, taking Nick for his first ride on a city bus.
Professional caregivers are trained to avoid personal relationships with their clients. There are lots of good reasons why this policy is standard in health care agencies: emotional investment could skew clinical judgment, agency staff might make private arrangements for employment, thus leaving the agency out of the picture, or the caregiver might give ‘unequal’ quality of care to favored clients who are also friends.
But is it always in the client’s, the caregiver’s and even the agency’s best interest to avoid personal relationships between paid caregiver and client? In our family, we have enjoyed excellent service from paid care workers who kept a respectful distance from
personal conversations. BUT, most of our paid caregivers over the years have remained close friends – some, I would call lifelong best friends. There are a number of reasons for this. My son’s care began when he was a child and pediatrics is naturally less formal than adult care. Nicholas lived at home, so clinical behaviors were inappropriate in a home setting. I was always home either looking after our daughter, tending to the pets or cooking in the kitchen. I am by nature an outgoing person, so we absorbed Nick’s helpers into our family in order to create a sense of normalcy in our day-to-day life.Continue reading