More than half of all adults in the United States expect to be a family caregiver at some point in their lives. If you’re considering providing home care for an aging parent, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for the responsibility. Many people underestimate the time, commitment, and heartache that can come with caregiving. Here are six important questions to ask yourself before you take on this role.
1. Am I financially ready for being a caregiver?
Being a caregiver will likely be more expensive than you predict. Government programs do not always provide the security and financial assistance you expect and need. You will likely need to shoulder a great deal of the financial burden on your own and you may need to cut back on hours at work at the same time, significantly reducing your monthly cash flow.
2. Do I have the support I will need?
Caregiving can be very lonely and especially difficult if you don’t have social support and resources in your area, such as support groups or Columbus respite care providers. Make sure you have a network of friends, family members, neighbors, church members, or others who can help you when you need it.
3. Can I take care of my loved one on my own?
Ask yourself if you will have the time and ability to be a caregiver. The average caregiver spends 20 hours a week on providing care, and caregivers who live with their loved one often spend even more time providing care. Ask yourself if you can really handle the responsibility on your own or if you will need to consider hiring a professional caregiver.
4. Am I prepared for the emotional aspect of caregiving?
Caregiving can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging emotionally. If your loved one has dementia, are you prepared to handle his or her changing behavior and potentially hurtful actions? Are you prepared to watch your loved one’s health decline?
5. How will this role affect my children and spouse?
Between caregiving and full-time employment, you might not have the time and energy to devote to the other people in your family. Consider whether or not bringing a loved one into your home will affect your family’s quality of life.
6. Does my job offer the flexibility I need?
Finally, keep in mind that more than half of all caregivers report work-related problems due to their caregiving role. You may need to take time off work to look after your loved one. Before committing to being your loved one’s caregiver, discuss the situation with your employer and find out if you’ll be able to take the time off that you need without potentially affecting your growth opportunities.
Being a family caregiver is a labor of love, but it’s also not something you have to do on your own. For the support and resources both you and your loved one need and deserve, reach out to Home Care Assistance at (614) 481-8888. We offer hourly and live-in home care, and all of our care services include the use of the Balanced Care Method, which takes a holistic approach to overall wellness. Call us today. We’re here to help.