A mid adult African-American woman in her 30s at home with her father, a senior man in his 60s. They are sitting at the dining table eating fruit salad and laughing together.
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TroveStreet® Wisdom

TroveStreet® Wisdom: Caregiving for family or friends

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. Here are three things to consider about providing and receiving this form of care: 

  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.

  1. Ask questions that are important to you.

Having someone care for you at home is a major decision. You have every right to interview loved ones to best understand how they will approach providing care and their willingness to seek help when needed.  It’s also beneficial to discuss 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 your family member is the best fit for you. Depending on the alignment, it may be a better option to hire an in-home health care and that’s okay. 

  1. 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:

The caregiver…

  • 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.

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