Typically, it’s family members who fill in to perform the necessary tasks. But for many, perhaps including you, there are obstacles to helping on a regular basis. (Quitting your job to provide care is risky. Leaving work midcareer jeopardizes your retirement options and savings.)
Of course, you can hire people to support a loved one who isn’t able to live completely independently. For instance, if memory problems make handling money a challenge, you can hire a daily money manager. They are bonded professionals who can pay the bills, balance the checkbook, etc.
And you can have many things delivered (groceries and pharmacy goods, for instance). Since the pandemic, many stores are now offering this option for an extra fee. Or look for services in the “gig economy.” Maybe introduce ride-sharing for transportation, or errand runners. It’s not inexpensive. But if it enables you to keep working, it may be a very wise use of funds.
The biggest challenge, however, is home care. There may come a time when your relative needs assistance at home. At first it might be a few hours a day. Eventually it could be 24/7. Even when related to a health problem, this is not paid for by Medicare. It must be paid for privately, unless your loved one has coverage from Veterans Affairs (VA) or a long-term care insurance policy. Home care service providers do tasks and provide companionship. They are prepared to handle everything from transportation, cooking, and cleaning, to helping with bathing, dressing, and toileting.
A licensed and bonded home care agency can help you find professional caregivers who are a good match for your loved one. Agencies do background checks and training and furnish important insurance coverage. They will also send a replacement if your usual caregiver is sick.
Or you can hire helpers yourself. But then you also take on significant legal and financial responsibilities. (For instance, what if they get injured on the job?) You must also evaluate that the person is qualified and that your loved one will be safe. The IRS does require you to hire them as employees. Also, to withhold and file taxes, pay Social Security, etc. Even if the individual says they are an independent contractor, the IRS says they aren’t. (Hire a payroll service to handle the detailed bookkeeping.)
Are you looking for supportive care at home?
Let us help! Particularly if your relative is resistant. As the Iowa City, Muscatine and Cedar Rapids experts in family caregiving, we at Iowa City Hospice understand the kinds of issues that tend to come up and can help your loved one feel more comfortable with the idea. Give us a call at 1-800-897-3052, toll-free. Let’s start the conversation.