Tip #2: Agree about whether this conversation – or part of it – is confidential or not.
It would seem like this idea is a no-brainer. Of course it would be confidential.
But let’s look at what confidentiality can look like. In it’s simple form it may mean you won’t tell anyone what the caregiver told you. Or there may be a small group of people that the caregiver would be comfortable being in the know.
Or it may mean that you and the caregiver agree about what, if anything, might be shared with other people. For example, you might not share the nature or details of the medical condition that the person being cared for is dealing with. Or share only the most basic information about it. But you might agree that it’s okay to let people know that she is going for treatment and needs rides for her children to their after school activities. You might offer to be the coordinator of this or help the caregiver to set up a caresite (caring bridge.com, lotsahelpinghands.com) that has a calendar on it that people can directly use to find out what is needed and sign up for it.
So the “what” and the “who” are areas to discuss and come to an agreement on.
Having this conversation can help the caregiver open up to your caring and support while feeling secure that her personal boundaries will be respected.
Having this conversation is in itself an expression of caring and support. It’s a powerful one. It’s a gift. And, a pretty distinctive and wonderful gift for this time of year!