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Whether you are a patient or a senior caregiver crossing boundaries is non-therapeutic and unhelpful, often resulting in substantial setbacks to maintaining a healthy environment. The great fear is the sexual and/or emotional relationship that could develop between a man and a woman, but usually inappropriate interaction is not sexual in nature but violates privacy and intimacy boundaries. Inappropriate boundaries can present themselves in many combinations and most begin innocently. Simply sharing a meal invites a level of familiarity and comfort which may lead to a sense of indebtedness or obligation.
Sharing personal stories of oneself or family can lead to individuals to be deeply concerned and invested in one another’s affairs. Once rapport has been built and people are conscious of body language and shifts in tone in voice, it becomes second nature to spot when others are distraught. The natural human tendency is to help those around us. However, it is unfair to expect or even receive the pity or charity of those we are caregivers for.
With several years of supervisory experience in the care giving profession, I have seen all possible combinations. While the argument can be made that the resulting turmoil can be exciting at first, it usually results in awkwardness or insinuation and accusation. It is difficult to regain a sense of propriety in a professional situation once it has become too casual, but it can be done.
Awareness is the first step. Most of the time, the boundaries are approached by people trying to make a genuine connection. Being genuine is an excellent quality in caregivers, but there are limits to what information we should share. A client may desire to tell a family caregiver too much personal information about themselves. A caregiver has the responsibility to respectfully ask the client to be appropriate in conversation and to keep family issues within their families. The following is a list of issues, submitted by Austin home care that caregivers should avoid discussing about their personal lives:
2. Employment details
4. Health Issues
6. Religious Beliefs
7. Alternative Interests/Lifestyles
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