If you are someone who provides services to seniors in their homes, you will know how vital it is to develop a trust relationship with them, in order for them to feel good about having a “stranger” in their home. There are lots of ways to do that-arriving when you say you will, calling ahead if you can’t arrive when you said you were going to, providing the services they need and want in the way they want them done, treating them with dignity and respect at all time…What I have come to discover in recent weeks is how critical relating to their pets is in building trust.
I have a client who shared with me how frustrated she is that certain agencies insist she shut her lovely docile Golden Retriever (before they have even met the dog) in a room before they will agree to enter her house. My client is fiercely independent, and has advised these agencies that if that is how they feel, they needn’t bother coming! What was even more surprising to me was the impact it had for 2 of my clients when I volunteered to do the post-winter “doggie-doo” pickup before they even asked. One of the clients brought it up no less than 5 times the day I did it, and could not thank me enough.
As I reflected on why that would have been such a powerful trust-builder, I think it was in part because such an act of service says to the client “I am willing to do what most others won’t, if it is important to you.”
For seniors who live alone and for whom their furry friends are their constant companions, it means the world to them that you would do whatever it takes to support those relationships.