What to Do When Your Family Can’t Agree on Home Health Care

Squabbles happen among the closest of siblings, and perhaps no more so than when the care of an elderly parent is at stake. But if you can’t agree on home health care, your loved one’s well-being may be at risk! Clearly, you have to get your senior the help they need in a way that’s agreeable to everyone – or at least acceptable. Read on to find out how.

Why do disputes arise over home health care?

If you’re like most children of elderly parents, you probably noticed the need for home health care some time ago. Whether your mom or dad suddenly started having trouble with everyday tasks, like cooking or cleaning, or a major medical emergency left them unable to even dress themselves, at a certain point their lives changed. If you’re the sibling or relative who happens to live closest to the senior, you may find yourself becoming the primary caretaker by default – whether you want to or not.
In these situations, disputes over health care can arise for a number of reasons. They include:

  • Bringing a “stranger” into the house

A frequent concern families have (especially those not directly involved in the senior’s care) is that they don’t want to a “stranger” coming into the house to take care of their loved one. “But you’re so good at looking after mom (or dad)!” they may say. “Do you really trust someone you don’t know to come to provide the same type of care?”
If this sounds like your siblings, they might be operating under common misconceptions about caregiving professionals. A home health aide from a quality agency isn’t a “stranger” for long. In fact, quite the contrary – they often become like family members to the senior in question. In addition, reputable agencies screen and background-check their members, who are licensed professionals — not just someone off the street.
Any trepidation about their work history or overall character can be eased by seeing if complaints were filed against them with the state board. This is something that would likely be flagged in the agency’s background check anyway. Reputable visiting health care professionals will have a record that shows their license or certificate numbers, as well as the status of their license (i.e., if it’s in good standing or not).
Finally, any practice you have in caregiving – while hardworking and well-intentioned – cannot likely compete with the medical training and experience a professional can offer. There’s a reason there are experts in the geriatric field, and you may as well make the most of it!

  • Not wanting to pay for it

This is probably one of the biggest contenders when it comes to reasons for sibling squabbles over home care. However, if your relatives can’t be there to help in person, pitching in a few dollars is the least they can do.
Depending on how many siblings there are, each person contributing a portion can add up quickly, and shouldn’t break the bank for anyone. If you’re giving up a great deal of your free time to care for an aging parent, it’s not unreasonable to ask others to sacrifice a few dinners out a month.
In addition, payment options may be more numerous than you think. Home care is definitely a cheaper alternative than long-term care. Medicaid also has payment options, and there are specific home care payment options for veterans. Be sure exhaust all these possibilities before deciding your senior can’t afford quality care in their home.

Get home health care – for everyone’s sake

The bottom line is, you can’t do this by yourself anymore. Not only is it unfair to you, who has your own life and challenges to contend with, but your senior as well. They may be able to sense your tension and frustration, even if they don’t or can’t verbalize it. This can take an emotional and physical toll on their health. It truly is best for everyone involved to take some of the burden off you. It may be difficult to get the process started, but the sooner you do so, the sooner you can all realize the benefits.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.

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