Prepare Now for Caregiving Support at Home

by Dr. Marla E. Jirak, Owner, CoachSmart Consulting, LLC

According to the 2020 Census, there are 75 million baby boomers (born 1946-1964); 10,000 adults turning 65 years old each day. An AARP survey found that 76% of adults 50 and older want to live in their home as long as possible.

These tips may help:

Start early

Begin the search so you can find the right person for your family member’s specific needs, especially since there is a current shortage of caregivers available. A national shortage of 151,000 caregivers is expected by 2030.

Know what care is needed

Custodial or in-home caregivers provide several services including help with bathing, eating, grooming and general companionship. There are also CNA’s (Certified Nursing Assistants) and LPN’s (Licensed Practical Nurses) who can handle medically necessary care.

Do your homework

Talk to your person’s primary care physician, their neurologist or a geriatric care manager to determine the types of services needed. Check out the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s website or the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, which has a database of more than 33,000 agencies.

Know your options

Working with an agency is easier — the agency handles all background checks, certifications and can provide ongoing caregiver training.

Caregivers hired independently — they may or may not be certified — tend to be less expensive and have more flexibility in hours and services. However, the family is responsible for searching and doing interviews, getting background information and finding a replacement when needed.

Introduce caregivers slowly

As a loved one’s physical, functional or cognitive needs mount, some are reluctant to accept help. Their fears come from not wanting to lose their independence, not wanting to be a burden, lack of trust and not wanting to lose control. Minimize these fears by introducing the caregiver as a companion. Over time, the caregiver can provide more help and services.

Financing needed care

In 2018, Genworth Financial, which sells long-term care insurance, estimated the average monthly costs for homemaker services — light housekeeping, meal preparation and running errands — at more than $4,000. The ideal client for long-term care insurance should be younger than 60, otherwise premiums are expensive.

For some, Medicaid and veteran’s benefits cover some cost. Often families can put together various resources for the care they need through annuities, investments and savings, life insurance or borrowing (ex. reverse mortgages or home equity loans).

Ultimately, it pays to plan early for your necessary future care costs.