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3 Considerations When Choosing Care For Your Aging Family Member

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Published:  August 21, 2013

When the time comes to choose a caregiver for your aging loved one, the process can seem daunting. For some, the thought of finding the perfect stranger to provide care is uncomfortable, while for others, they see it as the best option. In many cases here and around the globe, families are choosing to lean on one another more often to get the care they need. It’s important to carefully consider whether or not this is the best option for your family. In order to guide the decision making process, here are a few considerations we recommend exploring before choosing a family member to act as a caregiver.

Consider the Emotional Implications: It is important to recognize that using a family member as a caregiver can take its toll on both the patient and the caregiver’s relationship as well as the entire family. Open the discussion, and see how everyone feels about the situation. Does the patient feel awkward about accepting help from a relative? Does the caregiver feel burdened? Do other family members feel uncomfortable about the situation? Take adequate time to explore these issues, and then decide whether or not to use a relative caregiver.

Establish Ground Rules: While we’d love to think that hiring a family caretaker eliminates the need for stringent ground rules in the home, that is not always the case. When hiring a relative as a caregiver, it’s important to set some key ground rules for everyone’s well-being. Establish basic rules like tasks that should be handled privately, ground rules for behavior in the home (smoking, cleaning, cooking, etc), expectations for hourly requirements, duties, etc.

Make a Financial Agreement: In many cases, family caregivers need to either reduce their hours earning income at work or in some cases stop entirely. It is important to openly discuss financial matters with the entire family to avoid issues down the road. If the relative caregiver will be paid, set an agreement on a salary, and consult an attorney to iron out a legal agreement that the entire family is aware of. It is also a good idea to consult with a tax professional to assist with paying taxes on the income earned as a caretaker.

For many families, choosing a relative as the primary caregiver is a successful experience when they work through these steps. Start the discussion early, and if you determine that it’s time to seek an outside source, be sure to read our article on the top 10 questions to ask a home care agency so that you know exactly what to ask to find the perfect fit for your family.

About Mission:

Mission is a clinically owned and operated organization whose services include Mission Home Health, Mission Hospice, and Mission Home Care.  By providing these three service lines, Mission Healthcare strives to have a positive impact on the lives of patients, their families, and their healthcare partners no matter what their needs may be. Mission utilizes all available resources to provide the highest level of care possible to their patients, all while in the optimal healing environment, the home.