...Where do I even begin?
Most family caregivers never expect to become caregivers. It's typically a surprise…or a complete shock! You may be more than happy to help or find it necessary to step in, either way, the question I am asked more than any other is: Where do I even begin?
It can be overwhelming and stressful to take on the care of anther person. They may be completely reliant on you for day to day care or you may be stepping in to manage finances from across the country. Either way, there is a shift in priority and responsibility. You now must manage not only your own life, but that of another person. There are a thousand things to consider when becoming a caregiver but I find its best to start broad and simple. To help you wade through the initial paralysis of where to begin, I have compiled theses 5 helpful steps.
Organization looks different for everyone and what works best for me, may not work best for you. But the focus needs to be getting everything together that you need, in one place. Find an old notebook or binder and collect insurance papers, advance directives, doctors’ numbers, medication lists, etc. Keep it all together so you can easily access what you need whenever you need it. If you prefer a digital approach, try an app like Evernote or Trello to keep everything you need easily accessible in your smart device. You can use Google Calendars to keep up with appointments or tasks that need to be completed by a specific date. Although organizing can take a little time, it will save you so much time and mental energy in the long run.
(more to come on this topic in the coming weeks so be sure to check back)
Write it down.
As much as we want to rely on our memory, when things get busy and you are out of your normal routine, it's easy to forget. In your handy binder or app, make sure there is a place to make notes. This will come in handy when you are accompanying your senior to a doctor’s appointment, paying bills, or picking up a few items at the grocery store. Keeping these notes together and well organized will help you stay focus and keep your tasks straight for your senior.
We can’t be everything to everyone all the time. When becoming a caregiver its important to reach out and ask for help when needed. Support can come in the form of emotional, physical and even mental help. Becoming a caregiver can be full of emotions, positive and negative. Your feelings are valid, no matter what they are, and you need to be kind to yourself if you are going to care for your senior.
Find a support group, online Facebook group, friend, neighbor, etc. to lean on for emotional support. Sometimes simply having a friend to listen to you when stress creeps in, can help more than anything else. It's easy to think we can handle things alone but asking for help or even receiving help when offered is so very important to ward off caregiver burnout.
If you don’t have family or friends who can provide respite care, consider hiring a caregiver to come into the home and provide a few hours of relief for you. You must take care of yourself if you are to care for another person. I always tell my family caregivers, “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” Allow others to help you!
Today’s world is amazing in that anything you want to learn is simply a click away on the internet. If you have become a family caregiver it's likely due to your senior being diagnosed with an illness, recovering from an injury or natural aging. Regardless, there are resources galore and the opportunity to learn as much as possible about their circumstances is endless.
You can also reach out to professionals in the aging community who can help educate you on what your senior needs and who to contact. As a Certified Senior Advisor, my job is to help guide family caregivers to valuable resources and experts who can support them in the journey of caregiving. It's important to surround yourself with others who can lend their expertise in their field whether it’s an Elder Attorney, Financial Advisor, physician or the leader of your local Alzheimer’s Association. You don’t have to walk this path alone.
It may sound trite but stop and breathe. You can do this! Take it one step at a time and try not to get overwhelmed with what could happen in the future. Focus on today, and the present. It's easy to get overwhelmed when we let ourselves think too far ahead and all that needs to be done. Take it one day at a time, the rest will start to fall into place.
Halloween is in the air, and the time pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating will soon be upon us! This time of year is filled with candy, haunted houses, costumes, parties and thrills. It's an exciting time of the year for kids and adults and has inspired today's blog post on the "fear" of Home Care.
When discussing the prospect of home care with an individual who needs assistance in their daily living, many times “fears” begin to arise. In today’s blog we take a look at the top 3 “fears” we see in clients and how Beyond Home Care not only addresses these fears but eliminates them.
I don’t send anyone out to a home, that I would not send to my own Gammy, pure and simple.
When you hire an agency instead of an individual, we eliminate the “fear” of liability and extra incurred costs associated with employing someone in your home. Our Caregivers are W2 employees meaning we pay employment and social security taxes that our clients would otherwise be responsible. We also carry insurance including liability, non-owned auto and workman’s compensation, which protects our clients in the event of an accident in their home. Many people are unaware that an accident in your home can result in a claim against your homeowner’s insurance if you do not go through an agency that carries workman’s compensation insurance. Hiring an “private” caregiver, instead of employing an agency like Beyond Home Care, exposes a client to many scary situations that are completely avoidable when dealing with a reliable agency.
Veterans and survivors who are eligible for VA pension and require assistance from another person for activities of daily living, may be eligible for additional monetary payment through the Veterans Aide and Attendance Benefit. More information on eligibility and application can be found here at https://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/aid_attendance_housebound.asp or those local to Tallapoosa County can contact our Veteran’s Affairs officer Nicole Goodman located at the CJ Coley Courthouse Annex.
Long Term Care Insurance policies long-term care generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. This would include services performed by a home aide or Caregiver. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover caregiving services performed in the home which comes to as a surprise to most.
Using a respected agency is the first step to eliminating many of the ‘fears” to home care. The unknown can be stressful, but we are here to help make the transition into home care smooth and painless for our clients and their families! The initial consultation at Beyond Home Care is always free and holds no obligation, and bottom line, we are here to help! Don’t let the “fear” of home care hold you back from living independently in your home.