There is a need to take care of the caregivers. Here are some additional thoughts on navigating resources and family in order to provide care for elderly.

— Family meetings & communication: Holiday visits may be an opportunity to have a family meeting. Be sure to listen, it is important to have an open and honest dialogue. Encourage the caregiver to share information about your loved one’s needs. Is there a way to share or spread out the caregiving load? Feedback from all parties is important.

— Professional resources: It may be advisable to bring in professional help. A counselor can facilitate the discussion. Geriatric care managers can help with their knowledge of community resources including: housing, Medicare, and other insurance options. An outside set of eyes can perform an objective assessment of an elder’s needs.

— Other support services: Is there a local handyman nearby? Someone who might cut the lawn, help with winterizing the house, etc. If family can’t help with these tasks, help the caregiver locate professional services such as housekeeping, yard care and meal delivery.

— Hire in-home care: Arranging for home care services can be the very best way to lighten the caregiver’s workload and stress level, while providing peace of mind for everyone in the family. Families who share the cost of these services often find that in-home care is an affordable solution—even an economic advantage if it allows caregivers to continue in their own careers. In-home caregivers provide personal care and grooming, companionship, housekeeping and laundry, nutrition support, medication reminders and many other practical tasks. A reputable agency will handle hiring, background checks, training, taxes, liability insurance and other employer duties.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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