In 2011, Dr. Ruth Westheimer came to NewBridge on the Charles for Hebrew SeniorLife’s College of Retirement Living. During her visit, she met with Hebrew SeniorLife Dementia Research, Medical and Care Team and interviewed them for the book she was then writing “Dr. Ruth’s Guide for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver: How to Care for Your Loved One without Getting Overwhelmed…and Without Doing it All Yourself.” Dr. Ruth recognized the HSL team with a special thank you in the Acknowledgements section of the book.
Two of those professionals who contributed to Dr. Ruth’s book were Tara Fleming- Caruso, psychotherapist and Marketing Manager for the Assisted Living Community at NewBridge, and Dr. Ruth Kandel, MD, Geriatrician for Hebrew SeniorLife. What follows is an interview between Tara, Dr. Kandel and Dr. Ruth regarding Dr. Ruth’s book and what Tara and Dr. Kandel believe to be some of the most pertinent information contained therein.
The interview questions and answers will comprise a series of posts on our blog over the next two weeks.
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Dr. Ruth Kandel: Do you have any tips on partnering successfully with a professional caregiver?
Dr. Ruth: Let me give you my perspective. When I first came to this country I had a young daughter and needed to work to support her. I didn't speak English and so the first job I found was as a housekeeper. I made 75 cents an hour but it kept a roof over my head. I remained friends with the couple that first employed me so you see, I was treated right. But from that experience I always treat those who help me with courtesy and kindness. In other words, the way I wanted to be treated. So to get the most out of such a relationship, you have to make sure that you treat the professional caregiver with respect.
Dr. Ruth Kandel: You can help prevent difficulties and foster a positive working relationship with a professional caregiver, whether in the home or in a care setting, through good communication and collaboration. Your efforts will also be stronger when you work together as a team.
Dr. Ruth: Absolutely. Now there are some people who may try to take advantage of you if they think you're too nice. What I would do is get rid of that person as soon as possible. Most people will respond positively to being treated like a human being. If you happen to have gotten a bad egg, don't waste time fighting but move on.