When A Loved One Needs In-Home Help
By Kristen Gerencher, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — The signs can hit you quickly or sneak up on you gradually. But what do you do if Mom or Dad isn’t safe living alone anymore?
"The worst thing you can do is ignore it," said Bob Mecca, principal of Robert A. Mecca & Associates, an independent, fee-only financial planning firm in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
If an elderly relative starts to need help to get through the day, families who want to avoid institutions often face two choices: hire a home-care aide or become one yourself. Both these options allow the older person to remain at home where he or she may be most comfortable, experts say, but each has its own pitfalls.
Families who choose outside help must decide what level of care their loved one requires and whether they want to go through an agency or hire a caregiver privately. And people who join the ranks of the 65 million unpaid family caregivers in the U.S. can face health-draining burnout if they don’t budget for respite care for themselves.
There are two main kinds of in-home care. Personal or home-care aides provide companionship and support a person’s activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, preparing meals and doing laundry. Home health aides may do all those things plus tasks such as administering medication or recording changes in a client’s condition. They also may work under a nurse’s supervision.