Sometimes you can’t care for your loved one by yourself.
You may need part-time caregiver help, or maybe you need someone else to give caregiving support and you supervise.
When Nancy and her family decided she could not care for her aging parents alone, it was a difficult decision.
She felt tired to the point of not being able to think clearly. And there was no one else to help her in the immediate family.
Rather than waiting until she had a serious medical issue from the caregiver stress and burden, they decided to hire caregivers to help her parents. And her parents even recognized they might not be able to stay at home forever.
They started with hiring help with the cooking and housekeeping which seemed the biggest initial need.
Not everyone has a family as supportive as Nancy’s. And it can indeed be challenging to know when to seek help.
When might you need outside professional help for caregiving support?
- Maybe you have a job or your own family responsibilities that prevent you from giving care full time.
- Maybe the caregiving has become a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week activity. And no one can work those hours any length of time alone.
- Maybe you aren’t physically or emotionally able to assume care. It can be hard watching someone you love slowly deteriorate. Or maybe they’ve become agitated or abusive and you can’t handle them.
- Maybe you and your loved one live too far apart for you to assume care.
- Maybe you and your loved one just don’t get along well enough to spend that much time together.
Or your own unique circumstances . . .
You can still be part of a positive solution!
Hiring someone to be there for your loved one when you can’t may be your best alternative.
What do you need to consider before looking for a caregiver?
- How will you handle the hiring?
- How do you pay for a caregiver?
- What are your criteria for a caregiver?
How will you handle the hiring?
Are you the best person?
Hiring the right person takes time and skill. And when you’re stressed by adding caregiving to your regular responsibilities, you may not be the best person to research and find a caregiver.
If you’ve never hired anyone, this also may not be the time to start. Hiring the right person can also take experience.
And the wrong caregiver could even harm your loved one instead of meeting your needs for caregiving support!
Plus there are tax and insurance requirements in many localities for hiring someone. You should check with professionals such as a lawyer and accountant before hiring anyone.
Instead of hiring yourself, you may consider an agency.
Agencies will research and provide caregivers for either short or long-term care. Check out an agency and ask questions.
What kinds of questions could you ask an agency?
Ask for information about the agency including licensing and reputation. You’ll want to know about their procedures for hiring and firing people.
You’ll want to know what kind of training and screening their caregivers get.
You might check with the Better Business Bureau, local or state licensing, and other agencies. Even your loved one’s doctor’s office may have suggestions.
And you should ask for references.
How do you pay for a caregiver?
An agency will tell you their payment policies.
Ask if they’ll file insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Whatever insurance doesn’t cover will come either from the caregiver, the caregiver’s estate, or the family. Make sure you know the costs and reimbursements!
Decided to hire a caregiver yourself?
There’s a lot of research involved in hiring a caregiver yourself.
You’ll need to know about withholding, taxes including unemployment, insurance and more. You probably want to consult an attorney, accountant, and possibly other professionals. You should check with your local Office of Aging or Adult Social Services, too.
Trusting someone else with the care of your loved one is a BIG step, and one not to be taken lightly. Many people who need caregivers are at risk for scams, physical or even mental abuse.
You may need to consider background checks on potential employees.
And in hiring someone you are ethically if not legally assuming responsibility for their actions. So you definitely want to be sure you hire the right person and have the right professional advice from your own professionals.
What are your criteria for a caregiver?
You want someone who will treat your loved one with respect and care — and be efficient and experienced.
When dealing with certain medical conditions including dementia, you want someone who understands the condition. If you get someone who doesn’t understand it can be a frustrating and exhausting experience.
Make a list of your criteria to help you choose the right caregiver. Your list should include “Must Haves” and “Must Nots.”
And you may want to rank your list, so you know which are more important.
Caregiving is not always easy and you want to trust the right person with caring for your loved one.
When you can’t be there in person for your loved one, you want someone who is trustworthy . . .caring . . .and has great fortitude.
Looking for help in finding the best caregiving alternatives for your loved one?
Keep knitting to your heart’s delight — or someone else’s,
Ina Gilmore M.D. (ret.)
“The Knitting Dr.”
Ambassador of Elder Care, HowToLiveOnPurpose.com
Founder, CaregivingWithPurpose.com and TheKnittingYarn.com
The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It does not replace information or recommendations from your own physician or other health care provider. This site does not advocate medical or other health-related self-care, and encourages you to obtain advice from your own personal physician or other health care provider.
This web site is not intended to replace medical, financial, legal, or any other professional advice. Please use your own good judgment and consult with your own professionals before applying any ideas found within this website.