As anyone who has helped take care of a senior or an elderly loved one can tell you, it's not easy. Seniors face a lot of unique challenges later in life and family members are often left wondering how to make sure their loved one is being taken care of in the best way possible. One common way people do this is by doing it themselves. According to the AARP, about 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months.
For some people, unpaid caregiving for a loved one is feasible. But if your loved one needs more specialized care as they get older, or if the time you're spending taking care of them is starting to take a toll on your own wellbeing, it might be time to look into some of your options. While some seniors need round-the-clock care for more serious illnesses or diseases, many can get by with having a caregiver that comes directly to their house.
Picking a caregiver for your loved one can feel like a daunting, challenging task. Since most of us aren't experts when it comes to senior care, it can be hard to know where to start when you decide to start looking into caregivers. Here are some great tips for hiring a great caregiver for your loved one.
Before you even begin searching for a caregiver for your loved one, it's important to have a solid understanding for what your caregiving needs really are. There are many different types of caregivers who provide care in a variety of ways. By doing research and figuring out exactly what your loved one needs, you will set them up for long-term success. Here are some common reasons that people end up hiring caregivers for their loved ones, if you're having trouble getting started.
Doctors are also a great resource for coming up with the specific needs of a particular senior and they can oftentimes recommend specific types of caregivers that will be best for their situation. Once you have a good understanding of your loved one's needs, you are one step closer to hiring a great caregiver.
Like most things in life, there are a variety of prices for caregiving services, depending on how often you need them to be around or the severity of the illness. Before starting your search in earnest, take a good look at you and your family's finances to determine how much you'll be able to spend. This becomes easier if you are splitting the cost with other family members, and having this conversation with them sooner rather is best.
It may be tempting to go with the first caregiving option that you research, and in some cases, this might be the correct choice. But as with any other important medical decision, it is crucial to explore each of the different options to make sure that you're making the best call for you or your loved one.
Once you decide on going with an agency or a private caregiver, do your homework and get a sense for the pros and cons of each option. There are many great resources online to help you do this, so don't feel like that just because you aren't super familiar with caregiving that you can't educate yourself.
During this process, it may be easy to fall into a common trap that many have fallen into before: keeping your loved in the dark. In most cases, your loved one will know that you're looking out for them and doing what you think is best for their overall help, but it's important to keep them in the loop throughout the entire process if possible. After all, it's their life, isn't it?
This is especially important during the first part of the process. For many seniors, the prospect of needing to hire someone specifically to help them can be a little scary. Keeping honest, open communication with your loved one will help reassure them that this is in their best interest and that you won't do make any decisions regarding their health without their consent.
Just like keeping open communication with your loved one is important, it's also important to make sure that all of the stakeholders are on board with each decision. Your family might have one person who takes the lead on a lot of these things, but any close family members or people who will help with the cost should be kept in the loop and have their voices heard throughout the process. The fastest way to turn this situation toxic is to keep family members in the dark during the process.
Once you're ready to start talking to actual caregivers, you'll want to make sure that you are as prepared as possible for the interviews. Get everyone together with your loved one and come up with the most important questions that you have for a potential caregiver. Here are some of the main things you should look for when interviewing a potential caregiver.
At the end of the day, the process is going to be long, tough and filled with ups and downs. But when push comes to shove, trust your gut and pick the person that you think will be the best possible caregiver for your loved one. It will be easy to consider the "what if" scenarios after you hire someone, but our instincts are usually very reliable so don't be afraid to trust yourself. If you do your research, homework, conduct a thorough interview and use your best judgement, the chances of hiring a great caregiver for your loved one are extremely high.