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Five Eldercare Topics to Discuss as a Family: A Guide to the Holidays

family caregiverThe issue of elder care becomes especially tricky around the holidays. It’s inevitable that certain topics will arise. The key to having successful discussions (that don’t end up with gifts flying across the room) is how you approach family caregiving decisions. Here are a few tips.

1. Decide on the Primary Caregiver
When discussing in-home eldercare for your aging parents, it’s important for each sibling to agree on a common goal: provide quality care that allows parents to stay comfortable and safe. That way, you avoid petty sibling rivalries, arguing over personal opinions, and other issues.

In particular, who will be the primary caregiver and decision maker when your aging parents lose the ability to decide for themselves? It critical that you include your parents in the discussion. Approaching your parents with your valid concerns and asking for their thoughts will make decisions much easier.

2. Agree on Finances
Nothing can spark an argument faster than money. Ideally, each member of the family contributes equally to the costs of caregiving. Of course we realize this may not always be realistic. Everyone has different circumstances (and savings accounts). Your family needs to have an open, honest conversation about what the expenses are, and what each person can reasonably be expected to contribute monetarily. For those family members who cannot contribute as much money, can they provide more by giving their time?

3. Discuss Who Does What
You will get nowhere fast without a detailed schedule of who is responsible for what. Caregiving duties are many and varied, and often change without much notice. Make sure that each member of the family has a copy of the schedule, and have a back-up caregiver listed in case of emergencies. What will family members who do not live locally do to help?

4. Choose a Care Setting
It may be necessary to discuss possible venues of care if the parent is unable to remain at home, and again it’s important to include your parent in this conversation. Even if your parents have the final say, you should have a voice. Be patient and considerate of your parent’s feelings. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how difficult it must be to move out of your longtime home.

5. Hire Extra Help if Necessary
Perhaps this holiday season has emphasized your family’s need for additional help. If so, consider using ClearCare’s home care systems as part of your solution. Research has shown that hiring an in-home caregiver (even part-time) can relieve stress and restore balance. If balance is sorely lacking in your life, ClearCare is ready and waiting to help bring it back. It’s also extremely effective in encouraging good communication between siblings and keeping everyone involved in important care decisions.

Good solutions begin with open, healthy conversations. Family members must remember that the only effective way to handle decision-making is with respect and patience. Following these basic guidelines will ensure you enjoy a much more peaceful holiday season.

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