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When Your Loved One Needs to Hire Paid Caregivers


Caring for an aging parent, especially one with advancing dementia is challenging for the caregiver. The desire to provide good quality care often requires hiring paid caregivers to help the family caregiver and this can become a point of contention between the parent and the child.  There are many reasons this is a “hot button” topic, but focusing on the reasons won’t help you solve the problem.  Instead, let’s look at some of the points of contention and look at simple strategies to resolve them.

Children tend to focus on the safety of their parent and want to hire help to ensure the parent’s safety. Parents don’t focus on safety, but rather on independence. Present the plan to hire help as a “way to ensure you can remain living independently in your own home”; rather than a “way to keep you safe so you don’t fall and break hip trying to get out of the bathtub.”

Families hire care and expect the parent to pay for care.   Rather than presenting the detailed cost of in-home services, instead present the plan as a money saver, when compared with the cost of care in an assisted living facility.  The parent is getting a real bargain because so much of the care is supplemented by the free care being provided by the children.  However, the children won’t be able to continue providing the free care without some paid services. Your parents are adults and have to accept the fact that behavior has consequences. If they won’t cooperate with a fair plan, they may lose all help.

It’s important to start slowly, with maybe 4 hours a day three times a week, you have a chance of being successful. If it creates too big an interruption in your parent’s life it will probably result in a total rejection of all services. If the services are good, your parent will eventually ask to have them increased. 

 If your parent has dementia, it’s important to stop waiting for them to come to the reasoned judgement that it’s time to hire paid services.  Your parent’s dementia makes logical, reasoned judgement impossible.  You know what their intention was regarding remaining at home as long as possible, and if you’ve taken the necessary steps to have legal management of their assets, it is time for you to use your parent’s resource to make it possible for them to remain at home.   Providing extensive financial information to your parent about the payment for the services is unnecessary and counter-productive.  If you have a need to feel assured that you are managing your parent’s resources properly, you can keep detailed records and file annual reports with probate court or your tax attorney.  Your parent doesn’t need to be involved in the decisions, because (s)he lacks the capacity to do so. 

It’s always important to remember that the ability of your parent to remain living at home is dependent on you and, therefore, it’s important that you are getting the help you need to help fulfill your parent’s desire to live at home.