There are close to 50 million Americans with conditions that limit the daily activities in some fashion, according to the Department of Health and Aging. The report further finds more than 10 million individuals aren’t able to live independently. One in five seniors over the age of 85 are in need of long-term care and help with everyday tasks ranging from cooking meals, feeding themselves and taking care of personal hygiene. As boomers continue to age, the need for caregivers increases so adults with aging parents will at some point have to make a decision to either hire an in-home caregiver or find a place for them to age with full or limited assistance.
When you’ve reached the point where you simply need to admit that you need help caring for an aging relative, here are seven tips to consider:
- Determine your needs before beginning the search for a caregiver. Does your aging relative need specialized care like physical therapy or pain and medication management? Will you need to bring in a non-medically trained individual to help with meal preparation, personal hygiene tasks and dressing or does your relative need a companion? Will you want the caregiver to provide light housekeeping, help running errands or bill paying? List all of the items you believe you will need help with.
- Begin the search for a healthcare provider by asking friends, church members and the physician’s office. Check with senior care agencies in your area as well for advice and referrals.
- Before interviewing caregivers, write a job description for him or her. Include the amount of health care training you believe the individual will need; it may be a good idea to speak to your relative’s physician for advice in this area. Once you’ve created a job description, work up a contract that fits the job description and come up with an hourly wage that fits into your budget.
- Put together a list of questions for the candidates. Make certain you write down their answers, collect a resume from them and note your first impressions. You should also have the potential caregiver meet your aging parent as well.
- Gather a list of references from potential health caregivers you are considering. You are leaving your aging relative in the care of this individual and you need to make certain you have made the best possible choice. Even though you may need to hire help quickly, you need to hire thoughtfully to ensure the person you hire had the necessary skill set to care for your loved one.
- Ongoing monitoring of your aging loved one’s health should be a priority for the family. You may be hiring a healthcare giver to offer you respite, but you still need to monitor the care the senior in your life is receiving. Make time to meet with the caregiver at the home on a weekly basis, at the least to gauge progress and how the caregiver and your relative are getting along.
Make certain the caregiver also understands the importance of the home medical alert system that you have for your parent. Regardless of the amount of time both you and the caregiver spend in the home, the medical alert device offers peace of mind for those times when neither of you are in attendance.