Nearly seventy percent of Americans who reach age 65 will require some form of long-term care support. Many of these seniors will need care for a number of years. On average, women require 3.7 years of care while men require only 2.2 years. Decisions regarding this care should not be made lightly. If you are the child of a senior citizen and are faced with making choices regarding the care of your parent, there are a number of factors to consider.
Time & Scope of Care
The first step in assess the level of care you parent or parents may need is to evaluate the amount of care required. Ask yourself:
- Does your parent require part- or full-time care?
- Are you looking for a caregiver to come into your home?
- Will you put your parent into a senior care facility or will the caregiver live with your parent?
- Will a live-in caregiver be responsible for additional duties, such as preparing meals, distributing medication, transportation of your parent, or even light cleaning?
- Are there additional skill sets required for your parent to receive adequate levels of care, such as being multilingual?
- Does your parent have a medical condition which requires specialized care, such as Alzheimer’s or paralysis?
Social Interaction is Important
One of the biggest fears of many seniors is becoming isolated. Those receiving in-home care are often homebound. Even seniors in care facilities can feel like they have limited social interaction. When researching care options for your senior parent, consider the level of social interaction your parent will receive. A caregiver who is willing to participate in activities your parent enjoys will likely be a better fit.
Family Input & Preparation
Families with multiple children may consider the input of everyone invested in the situation. Siblings may wish to share care responsibilities or be a part of the decision-making process. Keeping out-of-town siblings in the loop can often be difficult. However, keeping everyone involved and up-to-date on what is happening can be a step towards preventing family in-fighting. Your siblings may be able to bring different insights to the situation. Be prepared to ask questions and do research prior to making a choice regarding care.
Although many people hope caregiver decisions are based on the type of care, social options, and preparation, the hard truth is that financial concerns tend to be the deciding factor. If you parent was able to make proper legal and financial arrangements prior to requiring care, the financial aspect of care may be determined already. Talk to your parent about any arrangements that may be in place and about assets that are available to pay for care.