Article from Living Better 50+ By Sherri Snelling – Your 88-year-old dad says, “Honey I don’t need any help – I’m doing fine.” (despite the dishes piled up in the sink and the dirty laundry sitting in its basket). A fearful older aunt comments, “I can’t afford to hire help and besides I have you if I need help.” Mom, who just turned 76, informs you, “I told Angela the caregiver not to come tomorrow – I don’t like her and I think she was trying to steal from me.” If any of these complaints from a parent or older loved one sound familiar it’s because every day across America, a family caregiver is hearing them. One of the toughest challenges caregivers face is how to convince a parent to let a care professional into their home to help care for them. So often, caregivers experience the revolving door of caretakers based on a parent’s firing the care aide because “she didn’t put the dishes back in the right place,” or “he seems shifty and lazy.” One friend shared a story about her mother firing a series of in-home care helpers because “she didn’t like the perfumes they were wearing.” One option is to secure the help of a company and care professional that understand this dilemma: CareLinx. As an advisor for the nation’s largest online caregiver marketplace, I was impressed that in five years CareLinx has grown its professional caregiver network to 150,000 care experts located in the top 50 metros countrywide. But what really impressed me is CareLinx takes a different approach to finding the best match for in-home care for your loved one while significantly saving families on costs of care. CareLinx gives the elder and the family member control – you get to choose the care professional rather than traditional agencies who simply assign an available care aide. It is this empowerment of choice that helps an older parent feel they are still in control. They ask the questions during an interview (either on the phone or via videochat with the care professional) and along with you, their family caregiver, they make the decision which professional to hire. What is an added bonus for the family is that CareLinx saves 30-50 percent of the cost of in-home care over traditional bricks and mortar agencies. Because it is an online caregiver marketplace, the costs of overhead for a traditional retail agency don’t exist. And CareLinx charges a flat 15 percent fee on the care professional’s cost whereas traditional agencies typically mark this up 75-150 percent. In talking with some of the CareLinx professionals, we compared notes on one of the most difficult conversations to have with a parent – when they need more help to stay living independently at home (a desire that 89 percent of all Americans over age 65 express). We agreed that learning to read between the lines and interpret why a parent is resistant to in-home care can help. Here are two tips to help family caregivers navigate the top challenges of getting in-home care for an older loved one:
- Fear of losing control and independence Getting help in the home reminds an older person of the vulnerabilities of aging. They realize they cannot do everything themselves anymore and that is frightening. Instead of facing their fear of this loss of some freedom and independence, the parent is in denial. Thus, the elder deflects this fear by complaining about the care professional. This either puts their safety and health in jeopardy or puts an overwhelming burden on the adult child to provide the help needed. CareLinx Tip: Ask your parent what is most important for them to be able to stay at home. You can guide them to express concerns over things like dirty dishes, dusty rooms, lack of mobility or not being able to cook a favorite dish. Explain why you may not always be able to be there but you want them to continue to do their favorite things, enjoy a clean home, take their medications on time (40 percent of assisted living residents moved in because they could not manage their medications on their own), etc. To achieve this goal of staying at home as long as possible, together you need to find a good partner – someone they choose from CareLinx – who will take care of those things.
- Afraid of losing privacy – they don’t want “a stranger” in their home If a parent is not used to having someone come into the home, this “stranger” – otherwise known as a care professional – this is an unwelcome new fact of aging. They may nitpick and find any problem with the care professional just to try to wrestle back some level of privacy. However, the conversation has to weigh privacy with prevention (such as falls, not taking medications on time or in the correct dosage, not eating foods that have expired or not eating at all) and protection (not having them be all alone all the time, ensuring they eat or get out for a walk) – something a care professional from a trusted reputable agency will provide.CareLinx Tip: If we can get a parent to agree that safety is No. 1 – both personally and financially – we’re half way to getting them to see how in-home care can help. With a service like CareLinx, families not only will save money (whether it’s out of your mom’s pocket or yours) but CareLinx backs its care professionals with its $4 million SafeGuard Policy from Lloyds of London and conducts thorough background checks on its network of care professionals. And, the CareLinx professional will check in with the family caregiver throughout the day sending photos and messages via smartphone communication. With CareLinx, the care professional becomes a friend and part of the family rather than a revolving door of different professional caretakers who happen to be available that day like you may experience with other traditional in-home care agencies.
With CareLinx there is choice, control, confidence and cost savings. When it comes to caregiving, it doesn’t get much better than that when looking for in-home care. Sherri Snelling is CEO of Caregiving Club and author of A Cast of Caregivers – Celebrity Stories to Help You Prepare to Care and she writes on caregiving for PBS Next Avenue, Forbes.com, USA Today and Huffington Post. She was the chairman of the National Alliance for Caregiving and has served on advisory groups for the White House Middle Class Task Force on Caregiving, CMS, AARP as well as for companies such as CareLinx.