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Relatives as Caretakers for the Elderly – What to Consider?

A natural choice, as our relatives enter their senior years or face elderly challenges, is for immediate relatives – such as spouse or kids – to step in as caregivers. 

This approach has certainly big positives.

On the emotional front, having familiar faces and someone who knows them very well, brings an almost seamless transition. Relatives can fill in the gaps regarding food, housekeeping, medical and other needs without significant routine change while enabling high degree of (assisted) independence. On the financial side, the alternatives of assisted/living facilities or in-home care, as examples, can be expensive, particularly with limited support from insurance and/or government funded programs.

However, it is also important to think of key challenges particularly with growing commitment of time and increasing complexity of care.

With assisted care likely lasting more than 10 years, the commitment will grow from a few hours a week to over 40 hours a week. This means that the caretaker will continually compromise its priorities with work, personal and family commitments to be able to devote time to the family member needing help.

At the same time, aging conditions do evolve and become more complex. More doctors, prescriptions, specific health risks and other conditions to watch for will continually add to caretaker’s to do list.

These two issues alone can quickly take over caretaker’s life in unexpected ways and cause, among other issues, burnout and depression. This can eventually lead to a situation where the family caregiver is no longer able to provide required care.

Therefore, this decision is not as simple as it may seem in the beginning. Moreover, it is in best interest of family that all involved think proactively as to when outside help may be required.

With the right mix of support between family and outside providers, the quality of life of all involved can dramatically improve and enable our loved ones to live much longer.

If you are facing this difficult decision and want to discuss the approach, give us a call or contact us today.

Our care managers are experienced patient advocates. We can help identify home care options that may help improve everyone’s quality of life.

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