65 Million people in the United States are caring for an elderly family member or friend. The average duration of that care is 4 years. This can be a tremendous burden for the caregiver. Many people have to quit their jobs or reduce their hours to provide care. Caregivers, on average, will lose more than $300K in lifetime earnings due to their caregiving schedules. There are a variety of options to choose from to help reduce the burden of caregiving. In this case, I assume that the elder prefers to stay in their home, and not enter an assisted living facility. The former is commonly referred to as “Aging in Place”.
Many people are unaware of the services provided in nearly every local town. Here are a few to consider.
The local Council on Aging can be a great place to start. They offer educational programs and are well-versed in local agencies that provide services.
Adult day care may work well for people who have 9 to 5 jobs. Their rates are usually about $100 per day. They have nurses on staff, and many different activities to engage people with all different types of age-related issues (poor hearing, dementia, diabetes, etc). Meals are typically included. Some may also provide transportation.
Home Healthcare agencies are able to provide skilled workers to come to the elder’s home and provide anything from transportation to appointments to bathing and meal preparation. Call a few different agencies to get rates. Ask about minimum hours per shift and always get a list of references – call each reference directly.
Every caregiver needs help eventually. No single person can bear the burden of continuous caregiving over an extended period. The goal is to help the caregiver better manage their time, while ensuring the safety and happiness of the elder.
Helpful online resources for caregivers: