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Getting the Services You Need

Making Sure Services Work For You

Now that you have succeeded in getting a particular service started for your older relative or friend, your worries may not be over. From time to time, there may be problems with the delivery of the service. For example, home health aides may not show up or may not complete the tasks required, or the respite care worker may show up late on an afternoon when you had planned a social outing. Likewise, senior transportation services may be late picking up your relative for a doctor's appointment. In any case, both you and your relative will need to be good consumers and share feedback to service providers about problems you encounter.

Exchange telephone numbers with a contact person for every service you are receiving. Find out, in advance, how you should handle voicing a complaint and to whom you should address it. Restate what you can expect from the service, how the service will be delivered, and when. If you have a problem, follow the agency's complaint process. Start with the person you interact with most and then go to that person's supervisor and continue all the way up the chain of command until your concern is addressed to your satisfaction.

Talk with your older relative or friend and make sure that he or she understands the services being provided. When a new service starts, you may want to be there the first few times so you can meet the service provider and begin establishing a relationship. Remember-a thank you note for good service will go a long way with service providers. If you really want to make an impression, send a thank you note to the provider's supervisor commending him or her for the great job. Again, always remember: gratitude will help you gain cooperation and support like nothing else!

Part of the Senior Service Network Supported by the D.C. Office on Aging