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Family planning about eldercare
The holiday season is a time for hugs, celebrations, and catching up on family news. It is also an opportunity for serious family planning about eldercare. This is especially true when they involve convincing family members they need to make big lifestyle changes. For example, is it time for a loved one to give up driving or recruit assistance from a caregiver to safely remain in their home?

Those who need assistance for their day-to-day living are often resistant to hiring a caregiver. Here are some insights that make accepting the need for home care more palatable for a loved one:

  1. Suggest a “personal assistant” to relieve some of the challenges of everyday living. The thought of having an assistant gives an elder a feeling of empowerment and worth. For example, some elders who no longer drive introduce their helper as their personal chauffer. Others introduce walking companions as their young friend.
  2. Ensure the elder feels in control of the caregiver search process. Being tended to by a caregiver for one’s personal needs is highly personal, so spend considerable effort on the selection search. Consider that your elder may like the idea of becoming a life coach to a caregiver who is also enrolled in college or raising a family.

The best caregivers become like members of the family and the relationship is one of mutual respect, says CareLinx CEO Sherwin Sheik.

Consider your future caregiver as more than a financial investment or hiring arrangement. Consider investing in the career and well-being of your caregiver.  Think about the following:

  • A family might interview as many as a dozen caregivers before finding someone who is acceptable to their loved one. Quality caregiving companies have trained counselors to assist families with the process.
  • Employment longevity is an important consideration when selecting a caregiver. Once an elder becomes comfortable with their caregiver, it’s important that they remain in place. The key is matching the caregiver’s needs – such as hours, scheduling, and working environment – with the needs of the family.
  • Good caregivers are special people and in high demand. Recognize that if you pay a caregiver less than $15 an hour, it’s unlikely you will retain a professional for any reasonable length of time.
  • It’s also imperative that you pay a caregiver’s withholding and other taxes. Labor law requires it, but there also is a moral issue: Caregivers routinely live paycheck to paycheck and don’t always understand that the IRS will be demanding its cut of their pay come year-end.
  • Families and their caregivers are better able to care for loved ones when they understand more about a condition and what to expect. Today, caregivers can enhance their knowledge and learn new skills through online classes such as the ones available through CareAcademy.

We invite you to call us with questions as you begin these sensitive family discussions. Best wishes to one and all this holiday season.

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