A sibling’s guide to caring for aging parents | PBS NewsHour
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Finances are a key component in long-term caregiving, affecting where your parent lives, whether paid outside help is available, whether placement in a facility is a suitable or desirable option, or whether home care is manageable with family support.
Overseeing bill-paying and dealing with Medicare and other health care bills is a job in itself, and can be delegated as such.
Let your siblings know that their help is needed and wanted if, in fact, it is — see below. Be direct and specific about what tasks you need help with.
Even if they live far away, siblings can help with finances, can provide virtual companionship to your parent with frequent phone calls and Skype, or can provide occasional respite or substitute care.
How to hire in-home help when your aging parents don’t want to move | PBS NewsHour
Keep communication lines open. Tips for gaining the support of your siblings Accept your siblings for who they are.
Not everyone thinks, feels or acts the same way, especially when a situation is this emotionally charged. Be aware of how you ask for help. Their reaction will be defensiveness or anger. Likewise, making siblings feel guilty may lead to resentment and tension that will not be productive in solving the problems at hand. Figure out what you really expect from your siblings. Do you think they should provide more hands-on care? A day or week of respite? If other relatives or friends are willing, ask for help from them or from religious communities your parent might have been involved in.
Check for resources in your community. When people offer to help, say yes. If what you really want is recognition and appreciation from your siblings for all that you do, you can ask for that. You also need to express your own gratitude when you do get some help.
Seek advice from someone outside the family.
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A mediator, social worker or geriatric care manager may help get past long-standing emotional roadblocks, family competition, controlling behavior, denial, or other issues interfering with successful resolutions.
Conflicts over legal, financial and inheritance issues. With Durable Powers of Attorney or an Advance Health Care Directiveyour parents can designate who will be in charge if they become incapacitated.
Sometimes this creates tension among the adult children. If at all possible, this should be discussed at a family meeting and clarified for everyone concerned. Often, you will have to hire someone from an agency or an individual provider and pay out of pocket. In some communities, volunteer organizations may be able to help. While Medicare will not pay for these services, Medicaid government health insurance for low-income people — this program may go by a different name in your state, such as Medi-Cal in California covers limited in-home care or chore services for those who qualify.
You also may be eligible for caregiver support services including caregiver assessment and planning, respite, education. Should I hire an agency, an individual or both? At this point, you have the option of hiring an individual directly or going through a home care or home health care agency.
In some states, publicly-funded programs may allow you to hire another family member to assist you in providing care at home. A personal recommendation from a trusted relative or friend is often the best way to find a quality paid caregiver or agency.
In the absence of a reliable personal recommendation, try one of a growing number of online private duty matching services online, contact your local Area Agency on Aging to ask for organizations who publish a Caregiver Registry or Nursing Registry in your community, or check with your personal healthcare provider for recommendations.
Home care agency Pros: Some agencies will handle the paperwork — taxes, social security, etc. If the worker is sick, a substitute can be sent. Can provide individuals with a variety of skills to meet varying needs e.
May be partially covered by Medicaid or private insurance. Often several workers are used, which can be confusing or distressing for the person receiving care.
Less individual choice in workers. Ask the home care agency about their process for matching caregivers with clients.
What is the best strategy for taking care of your aging parents at home?
More expensive than privately hiring an individual. Ask for the service rates, as well as billing practices before signing an agreement. Services may not be offered in rural and frontier rural areas.
Clearly, Barbara thought, something needed to change. Her mother needed to live in a place without stairs, and needed some help with grocery shopping, transportation and other tasks. A good first step—before a crisis arises—is to hold family meetings with your parent, spouse, children, siblings and other key people so everyone can share their views and help decide how best to proceed.
But the information applies to anyone—spouse, grandparent, friend, aunt, sibling, even yourself—who may no longer be able to live independently. The family meeting A good first step—before a crisis arises—is to hold family meetings with your parent, spouse, children, siblings and other key people so everyone can share their views and help decide how best to proceed.
Since finances play an important role in long-term care, an honest discussion about financial resources should be part of the meeting. If the meeting is likely to be difficult, an outside facilitator such as a social worker, religious leader, or geriatric care manager might be helpful. Expectations should be clear to everyone involved.
Photo by Getty Images Key consideration: What level of care is needed? As your parent gets older, his or her care needs will change, and in most cases become more challenging.
Consulting with a geriatric care manager or knowledgeable social worker may be helpful as you consider current and future needs.
A sibling’s guide to caring for aging parents
Questions to think about: Does your parent need assistance throughout the day? Which activities of daily living such as food preparation, bathing, toileting can your parent can do independently?
If needed, what is your comfort level for providing personal care such as bathing? Evaluate your own health, physical abilities, job and family demands to help decide if you are able to provide care for your parent. What services, such as in-home care, adult day services and transportation, are available to your parent?
Can your parent get appropriate medical care in your community?
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What are your options? Moving your parent into your home is certainly one option, but you and your family might want to consider other living arrangements as well.