Things to Consider with Long Term Live-in Home Care [Part 1 of 2]
The decision to introduce a long term live-in caregiver to your home is a major decision and requires serious consideration. Many people are initially drawn to the idea of a live-in caregiver for financial reasons, but it’s wise to take the time to understand your needs and how having a new person living in your home will change the dynamics of your life. This is not a decision that should be rushed. Hiring the wrong live-in caregiver, especially privately, can actually create problems.
The first question that you need to answer is, "Do I really need live-in care?" You will need to make a realistic assessment of your needs and, hopefully, your network of friends and family caregivers. “The goal of home care is to allow seniors to maintain their independence.”, says Comforting Home Care’s Medical Director, Dr. James McGee MD. “That’s why I always recommend starting with the minimum amount of care that is necessary. You don’t want to create in a situation where a caregiver is reducing someone’s independence.”, he added. If you only need help with bathing and assistance getting to the grocery store and doctor, then limit the care you receive to those tasks. Examine your specific care needs and maintain your health and independence by continuing to do the things you can. Sometimes family members, especially adult children, believe that an elderly parent needs to be “watched”. “If a person is mentally competent and physically capable, there is no reason to make them overly dependent on anyone, even other family members. Limit help to what is needed.”, cautions Dr. McGee.
If you believe that live-in home care may be necessary, schedule a professional assessment with a registered nurse. Reputable home care agencies will typically provide nursing assessments at no cost or obligation. A nursing assessment can help you determine what type of care best meets your needs, and, just as importantly, match you with a qualified caregiver. Caregivers in Pennsylvania must meet strict training, testing, health, professional reference, and criminal history checks that are designed to protect the elderly from abuse and fraud. All too often the elderly are victims of substandard care, theft, and abuse when these safety precautions are bypassed.
Finding a qualified live-in caregiver is not the final step in the process. Your caregiver will be living with you, and this situation will change the dynamics of your home. In most cases, as a result of living in close contact over time, your relationship with your live-in caregiver will begin to blur the line between employee and friend – especially if you attempt to hire someone without a home care agency. If you do hire someone directly, then you will also need to manage taxes, potential worker’s compensation issues/injuries, and avoid creating landlord-tenant relationship that may legally restrict your ability to evict someone from your home. (It’s best to consult with an attorney for legal advice before hiring anyone privately.)