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Caring For An Elderly Parent or Friend

Many families with elder care-giving responsibilities can find those responsibilities both a blessing (to care for the beloved elders) and a curse (heart-wrenching at times, beyond the families’ skill level at times, and always a scheduling challenge).  Perhaps you’re care-giving for your terminally ill mother.  What a wonderful opportunity to get to know her and bond with her in a whole new way . . . and to reciprocate the care-giving she gave you when you were small.  But the joy of raising a child is not parallel to the pain of watching your mother die, and you may not have all the skills that you need to render her in-home medical care.  And what do you do about your job? 

Some families would love to be able to provide care-giving for their elderly loved ones, but circumstances (such as geography) prevent that.  What do you do if your terminally ill father lives in Detroit; and you, your spouse, and your small children live in New York City? 

Whether you hire an elder caregiver who works full-time, part-time, or as a respite caregiver, there are many benefits to bringing in these loving professionals.

*  If the elderly person does not have any family member nearby, a caregiver can act in place of the family to attend to the needs of the elderly person.

*  If the elderly person has a family member nearby, but that family member does not have the time to commit to care-giving, a caregiver can act in the place of the family to attend to the needs of the elderly person.

*  If the elderly person has a family member nearby, but that family member doesn’t have the necessary skills, training, or emotional capability, a caregiver can supplement the care-giving provided by the family member(s) who is/are attending to the elderly person.

*  If the elderly person has family nearby that meets many of his/her needs, but the elderly person prefers to have an elder companion for an additional interpersonal connection, a caregiver can provide that supplemental companionship.

*  If the family member(s) who hold(s) the primary elder caregiver responsibilities needs respite (a temporary break to regroup from the stressful work of care-giving for the beloved elders), a respite caregiver can be hired to absorb the care-giving responsibilities for a specified period of time (the period of respite).

For these and other reasons, hiring an elder caregiver may be right for your family.  There are a variety of traits and skills that you may seek in an elder companion / caregiver.  A brief list follows.

*  patience

*  tact 

*  kindness

*  empathy

*  emotional stability

*  discretion

*  honesty

*  trustworthiness

*  dependability

*  good communication skills

*  ability to follow directions

*  ability to respond well to constructive criticism

*  ability to handle stressful situations well

*  ability to work independently

*  ability to multitask

*  ability to problem solve

*  ability to provide transportation for self and elder

*  ability to monitor and record physical and mental functioning of elder

*  ability to administer medications and perform medical-related services for elder

*  interest in the elder, his/her life and stories, what he/she thinks, and how he/she feels

*  liability insurance to cover professional errors, etc.

*  certification by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice

You may not need your elder companion / caregiver to possess all these qualifications (i.e., the ability to administer medications).  There may be other qualifications that you seek in an elder companion / caregiver instead.  However, the list above is a general list that most families use in the “typical’ situation in which an elder companion / caregiver is hired.

It will be helpful for you to write an elder caregiver job description: doing so helps clarify expectations for you, the elder, and the elder caregiver.   If possible, include the elder in the interviews of the prospective elder caregivers:  doing so is an important step to securing the elder’s acceptance of his/her new caregiver.  After interviewing the candidates who best mirror your desired traits, skills, and credentials, background checks are in order.  Then, you’re ready to extend a job offer to your one best candidate.

We at Care4hire.com are here to help you find the right caregiver for your family.  We can even help you perform background checks.  We are here to serve you.

3 comments to Caring For An Elderly Parent or Friend

  • Denni

    I am considering a live-in helper which would include free room and board, and am wondering how much additional wages would be per month. I would actually be attending to the more physical needs, such as showering and assisting at the toilet, and hygene, but need someone to do the housework, cook healthy meals and sit with my ALS friend while I do the outside chores on our small horse boarding farm.

  • Salary is negotiable directly with the caregiver, but could range anywhere from $10-$15/hour on average. It varies depending on duties, experience and geographic location.

  • It looks like i may be to late for this blog,but i will vent anyways. I moved my mother in with my Husband and I. My mother is a handful, the best way for me to describe my mother is she’s very needy.I have 4 other brothers and sisters that are ubable to help with the care.My mother is 66 she is a diabetic,and everything imaginable is wrong with her,(ACCORDING TO HER) nothing make’s mom happy, there is always pain and don”t get me wrong i do realize that there is pain,just not as badly as she claim’s.I love my mother very much,but i am also at my wits end as to what to do with this situation.If i try talking to her she gets on the defense.I sometimes think that she has early signs of Alz.

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