Everything you need to know about hiring a caregiver for your parent’s with Alzheimer’s.
It’s one of the most difficult things in life, when you start to notice signs of aging finally hitting the people who had spent their whole life giving you everything you ever needed. One day, they’re the people who held your hands through your first footsteps. Then another day, life hits them badly.
It starts with little signs of forgetfulness. Maybe they walked out to the car and thought they’d forgotten their keys at home, so they spend half an hour searching for it, only to realize the keys are in their pockets. But then it gets worse, and worse. You start thinking that one day too soon, they might wake up and be unable to recognize you anymore.
You’re then faced with an even harder choice: How can you give them the care they need at this point? It’s reached a point that they need a caregiver, it’s too dangerous to leave them on their own. Then there’s the whole dilemma about whether or not the caregiver you’ll hire will be adequate or even trustworthy.
That’s why, before hiring a caregiver to take care of them, there a few points that you should know.
Know your parents preferences
It might be too difficult to make all of your parents’ wishes come true, but you can try your best to provide the most comfort for them. Take the time to sit down and talk to your parents, know their preferences and their habits. Get to know them more, and get to know who they are on their Alzheimer’s: their worries, their fears, their confusion, their actions, and their habits.
Which stage of Alzheimer’s are your parents at?
Alzheimer’s hits everyone in different ways, and at different levels.
Early stage Alzheimer’s patients can still have awareness of their surroundings, and are more able to carry on their daily activities without much struggle. But when it comes to names, appointments or more advanced organizational tasks, they might show some struggle.
Middle stage Alzheimer’s starts to show more forgetfulness and communication difficulties. You might also notice behavioral changes that could manifest as irritability or even depression. Daily tasks will start to be more difficult to carry out, and they’ll need help with activities such as bathing, dressing, or driving.
As Alzheimer’s progresses into its late stages, your parents will need much more care and 24/7 surveillance. In such case, caring for your elderly parents will need hiring a full time caregiver.
Going through an agency vs. individual caregivers
A trusted agency will definitely take off a lot of headache. You won’t have to go through the applications yourself to check their qualifications and find the perfect match, and if your caregiver leaves suddenly or is unable to show up one day, the agency will be able to provide back up. On the other side, it’s definitely on the more expensive side.
With an individual caregiver, however, you’ll have more flexibility with choosing the person instead of getting assigned one.
Choosing the right caregiver
Whether you choose to go through an agency or hire an individual caregiver, you’ll still need to make sure they’re the right match. Make sure to train them before they start with how they should take care of your parents. Provide them with your parents’ preferences, habits and traits, and make sure to stick around to see how they deal with them. Make them notes of they should keep in mind, and give them tips on how to calm your parents when distressed. When you feel they got the hang of it, set regular meetings to discuss how everything is going and the kinds of problems they’ve faced so far.
Hiring a full-time caregiver is no cheap feat. You’ll need to talk with your parents about their finances, and get access to their account numbers, bank balances, investment holdings, insurance policies and payouts, total assets, outstanding debts, and ongoing expenses. Afterwards, you’ll need to set out a financial plan to take care of the costs. You can also hire a third-party you trust to take care of this, such as a family banker or a CPA. There are some governmental programs that offer help for the caregiving of patients with Alzheimer’s.
Taking care of a parent with Alzheimer’s
It’s not an easy job to do, in anyway. It might even be more mentally and emotionally exhausting than anything else. But in order to provide the best care you can give your parents, you’ll need to understand well the disease and its progression, and all of the changes they’re going through. They might seem like completely different people, but a sense of familiarity and care will always help them go through their days in a better state.