Jan 29, 2019
At first, it seemed like a great idea to bring your senior mom or dad home to live with you or to continue with independent senior living. But soon, it became apparent that home care assistance was needed. In unchartered waters, you weren’t sure where to find qualified senior helpers that could contribute to the elderly home care you felt your parent needed, and at a price you could afford.
Fortunately, you don’t have to blaze a trail on your own. There are a number of resources for caregivers who are setting up a senior independent living situation for their aging parents. Whether your parent is going to live with you or continue living in their own house or apartment, there are plenty of services available to help.
Home Care Support
Now what? I can’t do everything alone. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of responsibilities you have at work, school, home, and now with your aging parent, there is support available.
Search the city nearest you for an agency on aging. Every state has its own agency on aging and although they often go by different names, they are all great resources for new caregivers. There should also be a branch of the National Family Caregiver Support Program or something similar in your state. They typically have phone numbers for caregivers for an elderly parent and often links and contact information for other local resources. Just start by googling “aging” in your city.
What Elderly Care Options are Available?
When it comes to finding senior home care options, creativity might be your best strategy. If you can think outside of the box when looking for ways to meet your aging mom or dad’s home care needs, you might be surprised at how simple the answers can be.
Depending on where you live, there are often readily available alternatives to nursing homes or assisted living facilities that can help provide for the needs that you can’t meet. However, you should first determine exactly what these needs are.
Meals. If your parent lives in a city, you can likely find a Meals on Wheels program that works on a sliding budget scale to deliver a hot meal every day. Churches also have food banks, meal delivery programs and holiday food baskets. Hiring a trustworthy person to shop and prepare meals is another possibility.
Today, there are also an increasing number of food subscription programs that mail fresh food with simple recipes right to your door. Some local groceries may also deliver. You could also explore monthly cooking plans that help you prepare a month’s worth of dinners to freeze at a time. You could then box up portions to share with your mom or dad.
Cleaning. If you know a trustworthy person to hire, this can be a simple exchange of goods or services. For example, a younger family member or a college student might be willing to take on this job. Or, several family members could rotate to make sure your parent’s house and laundry are getting cleaned properly. If budgets allow, a cleaning service could be hired.
Housing. If housing is an issue, you can start with U.S. Housing and Urban Development for public housing assistance. The agency on aging should also be able to help with retrofitting existing houses for elderly needs.
There might be a way to share housing with another single adult or trusted friend to split the rent and utilities. Also, monthly bills for your retired parent’s independent living facility might be better spent on adding a bedroom and handicap-accessible bathroom onto your existing home. This can increase the value of your home and keep your aging parent close by.
Errands. Completing day-to-day errands are another way that extended family can help contribute. For example, getting your parent to his or her doctor’s appointments, shopping for necessities, having dental work done, or getting new glasses or hearing aids can be a shared responsibility. Some of these errands can be hired out or handled by a friend. There may also be a ride share program in your city that could provide transportation.
Companionship. If your elderly parent is well fed and cared for, but is isolated and alone, it won’t be long before he or she begins to suffer from loneliness. If left for too long, loneliness can be detrimental to a senior’s mental and physical health. One simple solution is Call My Mom™. This service provides wellness calls up to five times a week to seniors in need of companionship. Just knowing someone cares and is regularly there to engage in meaningful conversation can be all the companionship needed for a senior who is dealing with loneliness.
Can I Get Paid to Take Care of Mom or Dad?
It won’t take long to realize that almost every service set up to meet your mom or dad needs requires money. Before long, being a caregiver for your parent can create a pretty serious financial strain. You may begin wondering about compensation for caregiving.
If your parent is on Medicaid, you might be able to receive some compensation for your time. Every state except South Dakota offers a Medicaid program to pay for home health aide. The name of the program varies from state to state, but it is often informally referred to as Cash and Counseling.
In this program, seniors can hire someone to help them and in many cases this person can be a family member. There are limits to how much money can be spent each month and, of course, there are mountains of paperwork to wade through, but the end result is actual compensation for those acting in a caregiving capacity. If you have Power of Attorney for your parent, you will need an elder law attorney to help you navigate the proper way to receive pay for caregiving.
Another way you can get some recompense for the hours and expenses you invest in caring for your parent is to work out an arrangement with other family members. This could be something as formal as a legal document describing exactly how the various parties will help, or as informal as a handshake agreement in which everyone agrees to work together and pitch in as they can. Ways to help include offering the caregiver breaks, contributing financially, and providing meals or rotating visits for your parent. These are all options that should be discussed at length. Keeping the lines of communication open will be vital to the success of family-based support.
Another great way that extended family can help is to underwrite a support service such as Call My Mom™. When you can’t be there with your mom or dad, this is the next best thing. With Call My Mom™, a trusted CareFriend™ will chat with your parent on a ongoing basis, providing medication and appointment reminders, and bringing cheer to their day. The peace of mind that comes from knowing your elderly parent is safe and healthy is priceless.
To add this vital service into your home care mix, simply go to our “Get Started” page and create an account. We look forward to bringing your parent the positive, one-on-one attention he or she deserves while making sure they are well and happy.