For an adult child, watching a parent age can be very difficult. We seem to expect that our parents will forever stay middle aged. It can become even more difficult if a parent starts to show signs of physical and/or mental deterioration that often goes along with the natural aging process. If that is where you are with your parent, it may be time to find a caregiver for your parent. If so, the Bellevue elder law attorney at Legacy Estate Planning, LLC offer some tips for choosing a caregiver for a parent.
Is It Time for a Caregiver?
Adult children often hesitate to suggest that a parent needs a caregiver for several reasons. Sometimes they don’t want to face the reality that their parent needs a caregiver. Or it may be fear of offending a parent or worries that suggesting a caregiver will take away a parent’s independence. Regardless of the reason, if you are hesitating to acknowledge the need for a caregiver, keep in mind that failing to do so could result in your parent being injure or falling victim to those who prey on the elderly. When possible, discuss the need for a caregiver with other family members and/or with your parent’s physician before deciding. In addition, the following signs often point to the need for help:
- Forgetting important dates, appointments, bills etc.
- Unkempt appearance/deteriorating hygiene habits
- Loss of weight without an explanation
- Bills unpaid/services shut off
- Rapidly deteriorating health
- Mismanagement of money/missing money
Tips for Choosing a Caregiver
If you have decided that a caregiver is warranted for your parent, the next step is to choose one. If family members can provide the necessary care, you may not need to look further; however, if family members cannot act as caregivers, the following tips may be helpful:
- Determine the type and extent of care needed. Your parent’s physician may be able to help with this. Does your parent need help with daily tasks of living only, such as cooking or cleaning, a couple of days a week? Or does he/she need more intensive care daily?
- Establish funding sources. Your parent likely has Medicare; however, that may not be the only option to help cover the cost of a caregiver. Your parent may also qualify for Medicaid, Veterans Aid & Attendance, or other government programs.
- Set a budget. Do a little research to figure out what the prevailing rates are in your area and compare those to any limitations in Medicare, VA&A, and Medicaid benefits to try and determine how much you can afford to pay per week/month.
- Make use of online resources. There are several reliable online resources that can help you narrow down the available options in your area, such as Eldercare Locator or Nursing Home Compare.
- Interview providers. Set aside time to interview companies/organizations that provide in-home caregivers. You need to get a feel for the company and its philosophy/practices, not just the actual caregiver.
- Interview candidates. Once you have narrowed down what type of care your parent needs, how much you can afford, and what providers appear to fit your needs, it is time to start interviewing the actual caregiver candidates. Prepare questions ahead of time and don’t be afraid to as difficult questions.
- Check references and insist on doing your own criminal history check. All too often people do not actually check references. Don’t make that mistake. Moreover, insist on running your own background check instead of relying on one that a company has purportedly run.
- Follow-up. Once you choose a caregiver, make sure you follow-up. Pop up unannounced when you know that he/she will be at your parent’s house. Monitor bank accounts, ask for status updates from doctors, and generally provide oversight to ensure that your choice of caregiver was the right choice.
Contact Bellevue Elder Law Attorneys
For more information, sign up for one of our upcoming FREE webinars. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding elder law issues, contact an experienced Bellevueelder law attorney at Legacy Estate Planning, LLC by calling (425) 455-6788 to schedule an appointment.