Now that we have established that there are no easy answers when it comes to dealing with aging parents, there will be numerous issues that need to be addressed. You may begin to notice the level of comprehension is no longer as sharp as it once was. The “blank stare” seems to be more and more prevalent. Now is the time to begin the process of reviewing levels of in-home care as you and your siblings can not always be in the home to assist as needed. Just be aware that in most instances, bringing someone in the home to assist will likely be met with resistance for a host of reasons.
However, before you decide in-home care is needed, discuss the issues with your siblings. Discuss what they have seen and witnessed in private dealings with your parents. It is certainly much easier to make decisions when most (if not all) siblings are on board. Be open about your concerns, however don’t minimize your concerns based upon a sibling who may think everything is fine within your parents’ home. You need to make them very aware that IF something is not decided soon, an incident may occur that could have been avoided. Step up and accept your responsibility.
Now that you have addressed the in-home care issue, and agreement is reached to review options, where do you begin? My recommendation is to call your local ADRC in your respective county and discuss your situation with a staff member. They can give you some excellent advice. Other senior resources are available through similar agencies. Do your research and discuss your findings with your siblings. Agree to meet with your parents and make suggestions, not demands, at your family gathering. Once the “seed” is planted, continue to follow up with the information provided and make sure your family continues to address the situation.
One of the options your family will be presented with is hiring a “private” caregiver or dealing with a caregiver agency. The private caregiver will likely be someone the family knows as a good person. While the “familiarity” issue may be a factor, do your due diligence. Ask questions such as: Do you have insurance to cover any issues that occur in the home as you deal with our parents? Do you have a backup plan when you need time away or are not available? Are your wages paid by check or cash? What is your level of expertise and what training do you have?
Once you have completed your evaluation, you may find that a professional in-home care agency is your best choice. From insurance, to care, to daily oversight, the professional agency may provide the best option for quality in-home care. Remember the saying “The bitterness of poor service remains long after the sweetness of low price”. Your parents are worth the extra layer of protection and professionalism.
Work with an accredited agency that will meet your checklist of items and introduce the agency caregiver to Mom/Dad. While there may be some grumbling about the difference in rate, the overall protection for your parents from a professional caregiver agency far outweighs the liability the family has when they hire a private caregiver.