Caring for my parents is becoming overwhelming, Can I hire in-home care help?
Sports and caregiving do not intersect often, but I like to apply an old football quote to the ringing of a caregiver’s phone. “Three things can happen when you throw a ball, and two of them are bad.” When you pick up the phone, what are you anticipating? Is your parent complaining of chest pains? Are the police calling you to say that your dad is being taken to the hospital? Or, is your mom calling to say the peach cobbler that Aunt Bernice baked was mighty tasty?
We may be preoccupied with emergency scenarios regarding our parents, but it is the day-to-day trials – the million little errands that wear caregivers down. Adult children caring for their parents may differ in levels of engagement, but the emotions and struggles connected with trying to help an ill parent are a shared burden. Tackling this challenge alone is a recipe for burnout and stress.
Part of the frustration for parent and adult child is the shifting of roles. Now the child must make sure the parent is well-fed and taking their medicine. Shopping for a parent’s clothes becomes the child’s responsibility. A parent may require durable medical equipment or special transportation. The relatively painless conversations of years past turn into admonishments and pleading. Managing decline requires strength of mind.
With a job, kids and a home to maintain adult children caregivers are already overscheduled. The needs of an ailing parent do not mesh with the expectations of progress on which our generation subsists. Status quo is a positive outcome with an aging parent.
Asking for help is a way to control stress. For the parent who is medically stable, home health aides are a valuable resource. Aides can assist with the activities of daily living- eating, bathing, toileting, walking and sometimes light housekeeping. Aides can be paid privately, paid by Long Term Care Insurance, or paid by Medicaid. Private paying for aides can get expensive quickly and may be a short-term solution. Long term care insurance was not widely held so the number of participants is quite small. Medicaid eligibility in New York for home care is obtainable. Medicaid approved home health care agencies can be chosen to provide aides. Medicaid also offers a Consumer Directed program which allows the recipient to choose certain family members, friends, neighbors or other approved individuals to be compensated for caregiving. Medicare only offers limited, short duration coverage for aides and is not a long-term answer.
The transition from child to aide can be challenging for the parent and the adult child caregiver, but if it works the benefits become obvious. The child caregiver can still provide the love and support that a parent craves while taking a step back from the hardest day-to-day tasks. The worrying will never stop, but maybe that next phone call will be mom asking for Aunt Bernice’s pie recipe.
To find out more about transitioning to home health aides, Medicaid home care eligibility and preparing for long term care for your parents, contact the professionals at Sloan and Feller today.