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Caring for a loved one can be a challenging yet rewarding experience, and as such, it is important to consider the caregiver pros and cons before taking on this responsibility. Deciding how best to provide your elderly loved one quality care can be a struggle.
Some family members believe they are in the best position to provide continuous health care to their aging loved ones.
Others feel they need more support and seek other options for assisting their family member.
Before any decisions are made, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of taking on the role of family caregiving.
Knowing all the positives and negatives will put you in the best position to develop a care plan that is in the best interests of everyone involved.
Let’s begin with the pros and cons lists of becoming a primary caregiver to a family member. Then we will discuss alternatives that families of many seniors explore.
Pros of Being a Family Caregiver
Being a caregiver can be rewarding and beneficial work when families prepare well and consider all caregiving responsibilities before them.
Here are three pros of acting as a caregiver for your senior.
Immediate Caregiving Support
Deciding to take on the mantle of primary caregiver to parents or other family members can get the care recipient to an immediately comfortable state.
They are assured that someone who knows their specific needs can always manage their care.
Professional caregivers who aren’t family members must learn different aspects of your loved one’s preferences, routine, and personality. Such an introductory period may cause a corresponding decrease in care for your loved one.
It can also cause stress for your loved one as they may be uncomfortable around the newcomer for a while.
Less Worry Over Loved Ones’ Well-Being
Besides calming your loved one’s nerves and reducing stress, becoming the primary caregiver for your family member can provide reassurance to you too.
Hiring an outside caregiver may cause you to question whether the parent is getting the necessary care.
Children who take control of the quality care of their mom, dad, or another senior family member will experience less anxiety over the health services being provided.
Caregiving is a direct display of love for the care recipient. It might be an opportunity to deepen the family bond by spending more quality time with a loved one.
Caring for your senior family member is one of the greatest benefits. For example, some view it as paying back a lifetime of love and sacrifice the family member gave them.
The fulfillment you receive from such an act can strengthen families for when times become tough and the moments pass when you feel like giving up on your caregiver role.
Cons of Being a Family Caregiver
Caregiving is a big responsibility, and it is often an unplanned event and can sometimes be overwhelming. Take a look at three reasons why the role of family caregiving is only for some.
Caregiver Mental Health
Being overwhelmed and exhausted with the full-time job of family caregiving can lead some caregivers to depression.
In one study, up to 53% of family caregivers reported problems with depression and associated behaviors – daily alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, missed time from work, and productivity impairment.
It’s important to have support systems in place – through support groups of individuals in similar care situations – to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Because their focus is on their loved one, the physical health of a family caregiver may be placed second and can lead to health problems.
Take time for self-care and seek help from trusted individuals. There may be options through insurance or an agency for respite care to take a much-needed break.
Caregiving Can Strain Family Relationships
Senior care that involves one family member bearing the majority of the responsibility can cause strain on a relationship with a spouse or sibling.
Keep communicating, and do not fall into the pit of burying such feelings, as they will only turn to resentment.
Give voice to your needs and seek a balance that maintains a high quality of care and preserves relationships.
A family caregiver may have to leave a job to provide full-time physical health care for their aging family member.
With new commitments come changes in income and expenses, which can add even more pressure to the mounting stress of the situation.
Consider money matters before making drastic changes to your life that may not benefit the family as a whole.
After evaluating all the factors, some family members may conclude that there are better options than being a family caregiver.
Fortunately, some alternatives can be examined to provide professional and personal assistance to a loved one.
Home Health Agencies
Home health agencies can be an excellent caregiver option for families that need outside help. Many families see the benefits of using a caregiving organization.
For example, one of the best features is that you will have several caregivers. If you have an inconsistent schedule, it can be a challenge to coordinate with a single individual.
But with an agency, a pool of available home health aides is often ready to step in when needed.
The agency itself completes the vetting process, so they only hire qualified candidates and must meet state-approved training and certifications.
A home health agency will handle payroll, taxes, background checks, and performance evaluations independently, leaving family members out of these stressful activities.
If you are unsatisfied with the aide an agency sends, requests for replacements are immediately addressed without lapse in care.
Of course, you do give up some of your freedom with this care option. There is no guarantee that your senior loved one will have the same caregiver daily.
Home care providers often cost more since they cover most, if not all, of the management responsibilities as the employer of the health aides.
Independent, private caregivers are another option that families may consider. This has the benefit of letting the seniors stay in their homes where they are most comfortable.
The private caregiver option also gives families freedom over their loved one’s care. They call the shots and can take the lead in the selection process to find the person who is the best fit for their aging senior.
Home health agencies may be limited in staff or due to locale so that private caregivers may provide a more convenient option for a family.
The cost may also be more manageable as family members can work outside the home and bring in more income.
Remember, though, that some aspects may make private caregivers less desirable.
Since the private caregiver is one person, you must have a backup plan if they are unavailable. Finding a replacement can be more difficult on your own than employing the services of a group of home health aides.
It can be stressful to interview, check references, and run background checks on private care professionals.
You will also be responsible for managing pay and taxes and be liable for job-related accidents at home.
A live-in caregiver is much like a full-time private hire but will also include room and board for the caregiver.
The live-in caregiver is permitted rest and sleep, so there is a difference here from 24-hour care provided by an agency.
You will want to research federal and state laws, as there may be wage standards and special rules depending on the nature of the work done. For example, minimum wage rules may apply or overtime pay standards.
Be thorough in calculating costs, drawing up a live-in care agreement, and outlining specific duties, the care plan, and employment details.
Aging at home may cost more than you expect due to care costs on top of home maintenance, property taxes, insurance, and other hidden costs.
A senior that needs 24-hour care may find an assisted living facility is a more economical choice.
These facilities provide private rooms for members with common areas for socialization and meals.
Staff can assist in housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation. Having other residents nearby can also keep a loved one from feeling isolated from their peers.
A nursing home may be a better option for seniors requiring more medical care. The staff at these facilities are trained to provide a higher level of assistance.
Facilities often have more options for providing long-term care and monitoring elderly adults.
This may include a parent or elderly family member with severe cognitive or physical conditions.
Your parents, grandparents, or other aging relatives deserve the best possible life and personal care. As their health declines, support can be given to a person in many different ways.
Carefully evaluate the pros and cons of family caregiving, and it can both deepen relationships and put stress on them.
Seniors may benefit from other care options like assisted living or home caregiving by a reputable agency or private, professional caregivers.
Whatever decisions you make, keep lines of respectful communication open to maintain the relationship and give the best possible support.
4 Seasons Care
Home care is crucial to ensuring that our loved ones receive the support they need as they age. If you’re looking for a reliable and compassionate home care company, 4 Seasons Care encourages you to contact us today. Let us help you and your loved ones achieve peace of mind and comfort at home.
To explore our compassionate home care services for yourself or a loved one, get in touch with your nearest 4 Seasons Care or dial 678-855-8901. Our caring team is here to support you every step of the way.