Many people in Connecticut and around the country have become caregivers for their elderly parents, grandparents or other relatives. Whether out of love or necessity, many people find themselves with a lot more responsibility than they once might have imagined. While their roles are very important, more often than not they lack any kind of formal instruction, especially when it comes to in-home health care.
Family members who are caring for older relatives may feel like they would know what to do if things go wrong; however, many caregivers don't necessarily have contingency plans made or a list of crucial items to verify when a crisis hits. Here are some important things to keep in mind if worse comes to worst.
• Health issues: If a doctor needs to be consulted, have a list of what you want to convey so you don't leave anything out, including a list of medication the person is taking. Have that person speak directly with the doctor if possible.
• Financial issues: Be sure the person in your care is receiving all the benefits due to them, whether that's from Medicaid, Medicare, veterans' benefits, or private insurance. Consider consulting with an attorney.
• Boredom: Make sure the person is engaged. Try to get them out of the house, if just for walks or visits to the senior center.
• Caregiver issues: If you have to depend on outsiders to help with care, and the older person has complaints about their level of care, try to get to the root of the contentiousness. Employees can always be replaced.
• Depression: Do what you can to listen to their problems. If necessary, the help of a mental health professional may be necessary.
• Family conflicts: Keep up communication among family members. Consider bringing in an outsider to moderate.
• Your emotions: Seek help for yourself if necessary. Being a caregiver is stressful, so that's understandable. If things need to change, talk with professionals about revising the health care plan.
Source: Caring.com, "In-Home Care: What to Do When Things Go Wrong," Kate Rauch