Caring for an aging or ailing loved one is a noble pursuit, and there are many things you want to take into consideration before making the commitment to become a caregiver. Increasingly, family members are becoming caretakers for their loved ones, instead of hiring an outside caregiver. As of 2012 39 percent of all caregivers were family members. Below are some important factors to consider before making the decision to move in with a family member or have them move in with you.
Do you have the training and tools you need?
Before making your decision you want to ensure that you have a clear understanding of your loved one’s needs. For example if your family member’s mobility is declining, he or she may need help getting in and out of bed, on and off of the toilet, and in and out of the shower. You may need to learn how to assist your family member with these things and seek out training on how to transfer. A combination of transfer aids can teach you how to best support your love one. You may be able to have a physical therapist or medical professional that specializes in your family member’s health condition come to the home and recommend tools and teach you the best care methods. You may also be able to sign up for classes at your local hospital or medical facility that are designed to support family caregivers.
Do you have a support system to provide you with respite?
Caring for a loved one is a full-time job that can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Even if you have the time to care for your loved one, you need to ensure that there is adequate time available for you to get the rest you need, maintain a healthy social life, and take a break. In order to achieve these things you will need to have a support system in place via other family members that come to give you breaks, or hired caregivers that come to give you time off. Ideally try to have a set schedule for your breaks and rest so that you can easily plan your social activities.
Do you have the finances needed to support yourself?
Before moving in with your loved one, or having them move in with you, you want to have an open discussion about finances. If your loved one is not in a condition to have this discussion with you, you can have it with your other family members. If becoming a caregiver is going to take you away from a full-time income you need to make sure you can still support yourself. For example, if your mom is moving in with you, maybe you can make an agreement that she will pay a designated amount each month to assist with household expenses. Depending on the state you live in you may be able to receive payment from the state for providing care for your loved one.
Keeping a loved one at home can significantly improve their quality of life. If you are not able to provide your loved one with full-time support, look into hiring a caregiver from an agency. If your loved one’s care is more than what you are able to provide either physically, emotionally, or financially you can also consider assisted living facilities and long-term nursing homes, which you and your family can visit regularly.