At some point in the future, you will need help. We are not talking about a maid, although you could need help with simple housework if you cannot do so yourself.
Just what the heck is a "caregiver," and how can they help me in the future, or my elderly loved one now and my family?
Yes, these days, the term caregiver is being batted worldwide, particularly as this small tropical paradise's population (Malaysia) begins to age.
The whole world is getting older, not just here in Malaysia. There are now millions of people over age 65 among us, and they're living longer, with more of them to come. But how do we care for them once they can no longer manage on their own?
Government is Not the Solution
Don't count on the government, that's for sure. We're behind most of the world, let alone Asia. A caregiver is a trained professional who specifically takes care of older adults, most often in the care recipient's home or the family's home.
So, let's look at when you might need a caregiver and what they can offer.
When Might You Need a Caregiver?
- For short periods of time, on an as-needed basis, to help maintain the senior's independence, if an existing caregiver is on leave, someone needs help with a medical visit, or the senior's children need to travel or are away from home. There are many reasons, as you can imagine.
- For extended time periods, such as a few hours each week, a few weeks or more, or for care requiring recurring tasks each week or each month.
- For around-the-clock care for seniors who are not mobile or have chronic illnesses.
What Can Home Caregivers Offer?
Home care provides help with daily living activities or supervision due to memory loss. Help with daily living activities could be for someone who could be "slowing down" and needs some support at home. Other people have illnesses or aging issues where they need more help with things like bathing, eating, dressing, going to the bathroom, and the like.
The objective is to maintain independence for the individual in their own home environment. Being in familiar surroundings is critical for elderly happiness.
- In some cases, a spouse or other family member or friend is providing care, but, at some point, they need a break or 'respite.' The temporary relief if an informal family caregiver is called "respite care."
Caregiving is hard work and often emotional work. Giving a caregiver a break is a great way to let them "recharge" while bringing in someone for a day or two (or longer) to help out. This time off could allow the caregiver to address personal issues, visit friends or family, or have a holiday.
- When a spouse dies, this can be challenging for the senior and their family. The care recipient could be alone now and needs help around the clock, or could just feel lonely, or both. Adult children perhaps are not prepared to address this situation, and home caregivers can help.
- If someone is recovering from an illness at home, it's an excellent time to bring in a caregiver to help someone until they can manage independently. This helps to maintain their sense of independence, and it helps get them through an important post-illness period.
- When someone is near the end of their life, it is an important and difficult time for the loved ones of the elderly person too. A home caregiver can help out nurses and other medical professionals who may be helping the patient at home. This help can be as simple as running errands, ensuring the care recipient is never alone, and helping the family with everyday needs that they may be incapable of handling at the moment.
- If someone is facing a chronic or long-term illness, caregivers are essential. Besides handling daily living activities, a caregiver can help manage the impacts of a condition such as side effects, medication compliance, and help with bathing, using the toilet, and other activities that pose particular challenges for patients. A caregiver for a chronic patient can help ease their mind and ensure they are comfortable at home.
Vet Caregivers Before Hiring Them
Bringing a caregiver into your home--and indeed a stranger--is not an easy decision. Take your time with this decision. Discuss the options with your family members, and of course, talk to your loved one who needs care.
Be sure to vet caregivers carefully. Just because someone is a friend, don't assume they know about caregiving or your family situation. In fact, talk to a professional caregiving organization--several of them exist today--and learn more.
About the Author
Andrew Mastrandonas, Co-founder & CEO of Pillar (www.pillarcare.com), Asia’s leading home care company. He is also Director of JPE Group, Asia's Most Comprehensive Care, Recovery & Senior Living Solutions organization. For more information please visit www.jpecare.com. This article was reviewed by Dr Lim Geng Yan (M.D).
Contributor since June 16th, 2019
The problem of long-term health care is worldwide. Whether you live in Malaysia, England, Canada, Australia, anywhere, including the United States, we are experiencing an aging problem. With advanced aging and declining health comes a need for help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia.
In the United States, health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, will not pay for most long-term health care services. Medicaid will pay for long-term care services, but you must have little or no income and assets to qualify for those benefits.
Long-term care services are costs and are getting more expensive nationwide. The costs vary depending on where you live, but no matter where you live, these costs will drain assets and change your lifestyle and adversely impact your legacy.
Just as important, long-term care affects your family. Adult children often find themselves thrust into the role of being a caregiver, something they were never trained for or prepared to perform.
Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will help pay for your choice of quality care options, including in-home care. Your loved ones will then have the time to be family instead of caregivers.
Your need for care can happen anytime, and your health can start to decline without notice. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s when they still enjoy relatively good health, and premiums are still very affordable.
Planning Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS
You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis.
To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:
- The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live. Plus, each state has vital state specific information you should know - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News
- The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
- Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
- A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
Seek Professional Guidance
Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums do vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.
Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.
A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities
If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.
Take a moment and read -
Get Expert Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim
LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with your Long-Term Care Insurance policy.
You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
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LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world.
You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.
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Benefits of Reverse Mortgages
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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