Approximately 34.2 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in 2015 (the most recent statistics available), according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older. But it can be a challenge to care for an elderly relative – especially if you have a lot of other responsibilities, such as children and a job outside the home.
Here’s where to start. You should also check out our Nov. 2019 issue for even more information.
Adult Protective Services – This agency has an office in every county to investigate reports and provide intervention for vulnerable adults suffering from abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Alzheimer’s Association – This organization provides support for those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as assisting their families.
Area Agency on Aging – There’s an office in every county that provides services for older adults.
Bay Area Legal Aid – It provides legal services to low-income members of the community.
Brain Support Network – This non-profit organization provides support for those dealing with a neurodegenerative disorder.
Family Caregiver Alliance – This one-stop-shop for caregiver resources is a national non-profit that has services in counties across the country. In the Bay Area, it provides services in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara counties. It does everything from helping caregivers develop a plan for a care receiver to providing resources to helping caregivers receive legal help. 800-445-8106.
Handbook for Long-Distance Caregivers – This handbook from Family Caregiver Alliance offers tips on how to care for an elderly loved one from afar.
HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) – It is a free program that can help people wade through Medicare options to help figure out the best plan. There is one in every county.
Institute on Aging – Its goal is to preserve the dignity and well-being of aging adults and those living with disabilities.
Legal Assistance for the Elderly – Provides counseling and free legal services for the elderly and disabled residents in San Francisco.
Legal Assistance for Seniors – It strives to ensure the independence and dignity of seniors by protecting their legal rights through education, counseling and advocacy.
Meals on Wheels – This program delivers meals to seniors throughout the country.
PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) – This is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps people meet healthcare needs in the community instead of going to a nursing home or other facility.
United States Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans may qualify for health care, in-home care or placement in a senior home.
Interviewing Candidates for In-Home Care
Make sure you prepare a list of questions to ask potential candidates to care for your elderly relative. The care receiver should be present at the interview to provide input. Here are some possible initial questions for the interview:
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Tell me a little about yourself.
- Where have you worked before?
- What were your duties? Here is the job description for this position.
- What is your favorite kind of client? What pushes your buttons?
- Is there anything in the job description that you are uncomfortable doing?
- How do you deal with someone living with memory problems? Give an example.
- Describe your experience making meals for other people.
- How do you handle people who are angry, stubborn and/or fearful?
- Do you have a car? Would you prefer to drive your own car or our car in transporting? I’ll need to see proof of insurance and a current driver’s license.
- What is your experience transferring someone out of bed or chair and into a wheelchair?
- What is your availability? Days? Hours?
- Can you give me two work-related and one personal reference I can contact?
- I’ll need personal identification that verifies that you can work in this country. Please bring it with you so that I can make a copy.
Source: Family Caregiver Alliance