To Hire or Not to Hire: Family Caregiving and When It’s Time for a Helping Hand
By: Samantha Stein
A secure long term care coverage is difficult to find, especially when it concerns your parents. Who do you trust with their care? Would an insurance policy be enough? And which long term care insurance companies can you truly rely on?
One of the biggest components of a comprehensive long term care plan is identifying where your loved one wants to receive the care. Understandably, many individuals opt to receive care and age in their own homes for as long as their health permits it. The main reason for this is because they are most comfortable there; their houses are their safe zones. For many families, however, adult children are left to provide the care that their parents need despite the repercussions in their own lives.
This is the reality for many Millennials and Gen Xers. Thanks for the changing market that left plenty of the Baby Boomers underprepared for their own long term care needs, Millennials and Gen Xers called upon to provide the support that they need.
For many, the support that their parents need is in the form of caregiving.
Family caregiving is not an easy task. While it can be truly rewarding, the role can cause severe stress and anxiety on anyone. Many caregivers have had to drastically change their lifestyles to accommodate the new task. Some individuals have had to leave their chosen careers to care for a loved one while others have had to cut back on hours just to make room for the new demands. On top of that, family caregivers are also at risk emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially.
Fortunately, some individuals and agencies specialize in providing the care that many people need. Hiring caregivers is an ideal option because this setup provides a way for adult children to ensure that their parents get the best care without sacrificing aspects of their lives.
What to Look for in a Caregiver
Looking for a good caregiver is a challenging task, but preparing a list of qualifications and considerations can help immensely. Many people apply to senior caregiving jobs, but not all of them possess the necessary skills to provide the care needed.
Before interviewing someone for the caregiver position, you need to know the specific tasks necessary in providing the care for your parents. You may want your caregiver to help them out with personal care or meal preparation. You may also require a highly skilled person when it comes to monitoring of medications and housecleaning.
Caregiving Duties and Responsibilities
When sorting out applicants, you need to read their resumes carefully and determine the type of caregiving services they can offer. Standard duties and responsibilities of caregiving fall into three categories – companionship, home helper, and personal care.
- Companionship refers to activities that assists and encourages an individual. Providing stabilization and assistance with walking and preparing meals are examples of companionship.
- Home helper involves light housekeeping, doing errands, or incidental transporting of an older individual.
- Personal care includes assisting a person with bathing, grooming, and toileting.
If you are short listing caregiver applicants, you might as well hire someone who possesses exceptional skills and qualifications. For example, hire someone who can drive your parents to the doctor’s clinic. Moreover, it will be helpful if you could find a caregiver who can lift, push, or pull a minimum of 25 lbs. If your family member needs assistance with transporting, the caregiver can help him or her move around the house without a problem. Essential qualifications that you need to look out for also include specialized training with CPR and life support or certification for medication monitoring.
Certainly, finding the right person to care for your parents is not easy. If you are looking for someone to tend to the needs of your loved one, consider the tips above.
Becoming More Involved
“Do you feel like 24 hours in a day is not enough?”—no one agrees more with this sentiment than the Millennials and Gen Xers.
Holding down a full-time job, raising their own children, acquiring advanced degrees—these are just some of the most important aspects that fill your lives as Millennials and Gen Xers. However, more and more individuals are being called upon to fill the role of family caregiver.
Though hiring an extra set of hands can help, you need to keep in mind that they cannot fully provide one important factor in their parents’ wellbeing: the comfort and companionship through family ties.
Understandably, accomplishing everything is easier said than done. There are already so many responsibilities on your plates that it is a struggle to incorporate caring for your parents into it. However, it can be managed.
Listed below are ways to help you succeed in providing care to your parents, on top of the demands of your everyday life.
- Share The Tasks
Other than the hired caregiver, spread the duties and visits between siblings. Create a schedule that is manageable for you and your siblings that also ensures your parents get regular visits.
- Explain Your Situation at Work
Employers are now more understanding of understanding of the demands of caregiving. They are now more accommodating, and some even offer family caregiver leaves. Others offer flexible working hours to their employees caring for their relatives.
- Support Others in the Same Situation
This might not help immediately, but appreciation and affirmation from others going through the same situation can boost a person’s outlook. Caregiving can be a big responsibility, but random acts of kindness from people in the same boat can lift anyone’s spirits.
- Sometimes, Spending Time Together is Enough
You do not have to do anything grand. Sometimes, having tea on their porch and just talking can go a long way. This type of downtime can help your parents feel valued. It can also give you time to step back from your hectic life and rest.
- Use Technology to Your Advantage
When your schedule gets too packed and physical visits become challenging, technology can bridge the gap. The misconception that most people have about Baby Boomers is that they are not good when it comes to technology. This is not entirely true.
Skype or FaceTime with them or simply call them on their mobile phones. That is what makes technology wonderful—it helps people connect even though their thousands of miles way. Taking a few minutes to call and say hi will not take too much from your day.
The reality is that caregiving can be a stressful and frustrating task. It is not easy, but it can be rewarding. These are our parents and our grandparents, and they have spent their lives providing for the family. Whether you choose to hire or step up and provide the care, are you doing everything to ensure that your parents are well protected and cared for now that the roles are reversed?