More than 1 in 5 Americans provide care for someone they love, according to a Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 Report by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP. Whether that care comes from family, friends, or a professional service, there are three things to consider when seeking caregiver support in your home:
1. Set parameters and communicate them.
We often hear stories like this around family caregiving: A man with three daughters, one of whom is his caregiver, regretted not clearly communicating to his other daughters how the caregiving daughter was being compensated. As thanks, he would occasionally pay for her groceries, gas and bills, as well as give her jewelry worn by her deceased mother. When the other sisters found out, they were upset because they felt their dad was playing favorites.
You know the dynamics of your family. To the extent that feels right, set parameters for how you will compensate the family caregiver. Then document and communicate them so everyone in the family has a shared understanding. This helps alleviate family drama and hurt feelings.
Engage in life: Communicating clear expectations about caregiving early on is a practical way to keep your wishes and goals on track.
2. Ask questions that are important to you.
Hiring someone to help you (or someone you love) at home is a major decision. You have every right to interview providers to learn about their company values and ask for a copy of their certification or training. It’s beneficial to know how they will address your complaints. Make a list of what is important to you in a caregiver and then ask questions that will help you evaluate if they are the best fit for you.
3. Know your rights.
It is not okay for caregivers to ask you for money, food, or favors. It is not okay for them to tell or force you to do something you don’t want to do. And it is never okay for them to inappropriately touch you, hit you, demean, or mistreat you in any way, regardless of whether they are your family, friends, or a professional caregiver.
When an older adult is at risk of harm, death or serious physical harm, or their money or assets are at risk of being stolen and misused, it is elder abuse.
To report elder abuse in York County, call the Older Adult Protective Service Program of the York County Area Agency on Aging at 717-771-9610.
Embrace your reason: Your purpose and significance does not decrease as you age. You are worthy of the best care so that you can continue to be the best version of yourself.
4. Know when it’s time for a change.
When family and friends serve as caregivers, it is important to recognize when that role becomes too much—for the caregiver or loved one. It might be time for a change if:
- Feels ongoing anger or frustration
- Has declining health and wellness
- Finds their duties interfere with relationships or employment
The loved one…
- Asks for a change
- Is in danger of harming themselves or others
- Things get worse despite the caregiver’s best efforts
It’s also time for a change when a healthcare professional says it is needed. Ultimately, the goal is for the loved one and the caregiver to have the best quality of life possible.
When using a professional caregiver, many of the reasons listed above may be signs that it is time for a change. In addition, if the caregiver is repeatedly late, grouchy, complaining, or not putting in a 100% effort, it may be time to assess if they are a good fit for you. Professional caregivers should also respect your wishes in how you would like them to address you (if you do not want to be called “honey” they shouldn’t use that term).
Qualifying for In-Home Care Assistance
The York County Area Agency on Aging provides a variety of no or low cost services for York County seniors age 60+. This includes assessments to determine in-home assistance, home delivered meals, family caregiver support, and adult day care. Before making any decisions, contact them to better understand if you qualify for their services. 717-771-9610.
Did you know that long-term care insurance can be applied to in-home care? Read TroveStreet Wisdom: Life and Long-term Care Insurance to learn more.
Providers of In-Home Care
Are you looking for a list of providers who help with in-home care? Here are three resources to assist you. Or, connect with a TroveStreet navigator for help in narrowing the best options for you.
1. PA 211
TroveStreet is Here to Help
If you haven’t already, create an online profile with TroveStreet where you can jot down things you want to keep handy based on what you read or save this article for easy access. TroveStreet offers a Quick-Start Planning Tool with four questions to facilitate your planning. If you have questions or want to connect with a Planning Navigator, call TroveStreet at 717-363-1129.