Daughters with mother

A Quick Guide for Family Caregiving

Caregiving is hard work that challenges the heart, mind, and body of both parties
involved—and these challenges are compounded when it’s family giving and
receiving the care.

The emotional investment becomes greater and the boundaries drawn are often
very gray. Clear communication between all family members involved is key!

The number one issue in family caregiving is lack of communication or
poor communication. Communication must be open, simple and deliver a clear
understanding of what the patient wants and the caregiver needs to deliver.

Guilt-free, respectful, mindful engagements make for great family
caregiver/patient communications and planning. Discussing a plan, then putting it
into writing will level the playing field and ties each family member to a standard,
method and expectation of care.

It’s also important to remember your family members have their own lives to live
and bills to pay. Caregiving can encumber the caregiver’s wallet—so there’s
nothing wrong with establishing a paid arrangement.

Despite, a family member’s willingness to offer free services, sometimes it’s
better to pay them. It adds mutual and personal respect and value on both sides
of the relationship.

If you have Medicaid, the Medicaid PCS program may pay your caregiver. A
simple search will offer plenty of information about paid caregiving and pay
scales for family caregiver services. Your lawyer or advisor can also provide
guidance.

Topics to include when discussing a patient/caregiver relationship:

  • Scope of duty
  • Frequency of care/schedule
  • Type/level of care
  • Involvement of other care providers (home health nurse, physical therapist, care manager)
  • Caregiver expectations

Tips for any caregiver are:

  • Take care of yourself.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be abused verbally, mentally or physically.
  • Step away if discussions get heated.
  • Accept help from other family members or friends.
  • Give yourself refresh breaks.
  • Respect your limitations. Don’t take on too much.
  • Hire outside services for cleaning, cooking, etc., if possible.
  • Spend time in a supportive setting when you feel overwhelmed.

Pat Landaker is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and owner of Living La Vida Senior.
She serves on the ASA’s Innovation and Social Impact Council, the CSA’s Certification
Council, the City of Henderson’s Senior Citizens Advisory Commission and she teaches
Positive Aging at UNLV/OLLI. Contact her at [email protected].

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