Talking to Your Caregiver About Privacy

Daughter with older father
July 1st, 2016

If you’re a senior who lives independently, privacy issues can easily arise with your caregiver, even if your caregiver is your own child. This is especially true if you have a caregiver who often drops by without warning. It can be hard to explain to a loved one that you enjoy her company but also value your time alone, but it’s an important conversation to have.

Privacy and Independence

Though more than half of all seniors lived with a spouse in 2010, approximately 29 percent lived alone, according to a report by the Administration on Aging. This statistic speaks to the value many seniors place on independence and growing older at home.

You may need more assistance as you age, and having friends and family who live nearby means you will have a loving caregiver who can help you remain in your home. Part of being independent, though, is knowing that there are times you don’t want someone else hanging around. Yes, even seniors who need a significant amount of help with daily activities value their privacy.

Having the Conversation

Tough conversations are a part of life, but when the person you’re talking to is your caregiver, there’s an elevated need not to alienate him. And telling your caregiver that you don’t want him dropping by without warning can be even more difficult if he’s a treasured member of your family.

You may want to begin this conversation by explaining why you feel like there’s a problem and then ask for her input on how she thinks the situation could be improved. In order to do this, you might need to take some time to think about what kinds of things are bothering you so that when you bring up the subject with your caregiver, it doesn’t come out as an attack or criticism.

Still, the conversation must be had if you want to retain your privacy. The best way to approach this conversation is in a calm and matter-of-fact manner. Explain that you love having your caregiver around, but that you would appreciate a call before he stops by. You can explain that you need time to get ready, especially if you’ve been napping or just had a shower.

What If It Doesn’t Work?

In many cases, a caregiver may shrug off this request at first. She may insist that you don’t need to prepare at all for her visit, and that getting ready is unnecessary. If this happens, repeat your request kindly but firmly. If she comes by unexpectedly again, it may be necessary to have another conversation. Again, remember to remain calm and politely request a phone call before visits.

Talking to your caregiver about respecting your privacy may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. A calm yet firm request to call before dropping in should do the trick for most caregivers, and the practice will eventually become habit for them. Asking for help when you need it is nothing to be ashamed of, but being able to take care of yourself also means having your own space and knowing when it’s okay to say “no.” This way, you can enjoy your time with your loved one as well as your privacy.