As a child, you were no doubt the center of your parent’s universe. You were likely cared for and supported for nearly two decades. Perhaps they helped you financially even after you moved out and went to college. Needless to say, you are grateful for their care and would do anything to repay them. You may feel that one of the best ways you can do this is by stepping into the role of caregiver, when the time comes. But is this the best solution for you and your parents? It may be, but there are things to consider. A more practical alternative may be hiring an in-home caregiver – specifically one that uses a web-based homecare system or homecare software that gives real-time updates on daily activities.
The physical and emotional burdens of caregiving can easily become overwhelming, especially without the proper balance. If you work secularly or have young children, your responsibilities may be even more taxing. Before you agree to serve as the primary caregiver for your elderly loved one, here are just a few things to consider.
- How will family caregiving affect your finances? A recent poll found that almost two-thirds of survey respondents who were working caregivers had cut back on work hours, quit their job or taken a less-demanding position. According to the MetLife Mature Market Institute, employed caregivers lose an average of $304,000 in salary, reduced Social Security benefits and pensions if they leave the workforce prematurely to provide care. Look at your family’s finances and count the cost. Would your finances suffer if you cut back or quit your job? Would it be more cost effective to hire an in-home caregiver so you can continue working? A homecare system or homecare software like ClearCare Online would give peace of mind with 24/7 point-of-care transparency, without pinching your pocketbook.
- Am I qualified to provide the care my loved one needs? Even if your parent’s do not need much care now, that may change. Even helping transfer them from a wheelchair to a bed can be physically taxing. What if they begin to require specific therapies or medical treatments? You may be called upon to administer medications, care for wounds, or provide injections. Are you confident you can manage these tasks on your own? A safer alternative may be a skilled caregiver with nursing experience. Caregivers that use a reliable homecare system or homecare software have secure access to their patient’s medical history, current medications, and all important daily tasks. Any concerns can immediately be communicated also using ClearCare Online’s homecare system and homecare software.
- How will my relationships be affected? This is an especially important point if you have young children at home. How much time will caregiving take away from them? Will your responsibilities take a toll on your marriage? What about your relationship with your parents? The reversal of roles can be difficult for aging parents to accept. They have always been the ones to care for you, and for themselves. Embarrassment may cause them to lash out at you unfairly.
We’ve covered just a few of the factors that should be considered before taking on the role of family caregiver. Your unique circumstances may involve many more. For more details on ClearCare Online’s homecare system and homecare software, and for tips on how to discuss home care with your parents, check out our recent article What Topics Should I Discuss with My Aging Parents?