A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

Posts tagged ‘family-meeting’

Caregiver Contracts

http://www.agingcare.com/

On the AgingCare.com website, saugo5774 asked the following question:

Protect Yourself with a Caregiver Contract

Protect Yourself with a Caregiver Contract

Do I need a caregiver agreement between me and my Mom?
Mom is giving me a check each month to care and support her.

My reply:

Caregivers can be compensated for services by using a Caregiver Contract
or Personal Service Agreement

The contract should address:

1) tasks—personal services, personal health services, driving, household services
2) work schedule and hours
3) wages and how to be paid (rates comparable to those of home-health companies)
4) care receiver Social Security payments and caregiver reporting
5) reimbursement of caregiver expenses and car maintenance.

Another important “contract” is a family agreement, generated from a family meeting. I don’t think this is the type of “agreement” you were referring to in your question, but it is important nonetheless. A productive family meeting (which includes your mother) can build a strong foundation for family caregiving. Do you share common values? Talk about what is most important to all of you—autonomy or safety. Establish common goals. Divide responsibility based on the strengths and abilities you bring to the family. It is important to be specific. Develop a contract that delineates the commitments family members have made, and solidify those commitments with signatures that verify that everyone understands and agrees to the plan. Be sure to date the contract in case changes are needed later on.

Either of these types of agreements are more binding if they are at least notarized, if not drawn up with an attorney. If your objective is to be paid, I would definitely work with an attorney to draw up a Personal Service Agreement.

Barbara Matthews

 

 

Advertisements
Aside

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

An AgingCare.com question was recently asked that highlights the conflict between safety and autonomy for seniors.  http://www.agingcare.com/

A Question was asked by KAT2014:   Cooks

My grandparents will not accept help and there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Should everyone back off?

My grandparents can barely walk with walkers, they’re in constant pain, they have a ton of family members breathing down their necks telling them what they should do but at least we got my grandmother on anti anxiety meds (that only helps so much). Everyone is wearing themselves out helping my grandparents but it just angers them. We can’t even convince them to let someone meet with them for an hour just to discuss the idea of getting some profession in home care. Before I was supportive of everyone helping but I’ve changed my attitude. Now I feel my grandparents (and everyone for that matter) are so stressed and upset that everyone needs to just back off. Will one of them end up in the ER or worse–yes. Will their lives be easier if they had prof. help–yes. Will they accept help–NO a hundred times over. I feel they need love in the form of good conversation and distraction from the topics of health and death. What is the right thing to do? Force them to get help when they’re already furious or back off? The entire, huge extended family is miserable at this point. How can we help my grandparents move on gracefully? (they don’t qualify for hospice just yet but they did come by one day)

 

Expert Carol Bradley Bursack replies:

I agree that everyone should back off. People like your grandparents often feel bullied by all of this pushing. They may eventually agree to some help if they are given what you mentioned – loving attention and distraction. If they feel free to make their own decisions they may become more reasonable.

I also agree that if they aren’t too resistant to wearing personal alarms to call for help that would be a step forward. Because of all the pushing in the past, they may even refuse this for awhile, but in the future you could gently mention that this form of help is non-intrusive and possible so that you’ll set it up if they decide they want it. To me the magic words are “they decide.”

I know it’s hard to watch this and not try to fix it, but human dignity and the ability to decide for oneself is important. Good luck to you all,

Carol

WTDAM (that’s me!) comment:  On p. 54 of my book, “What to Do about Mama?” I state:

“A productive family meeting can build a strong foundation for family caregiving. Do you share common values? Talk about what is most important to all of you—autonomy or safety. Establish common goals. Divide responsibility based on the strengths and abilities you bring to the family. It is important to be specific. Develop a contract that delineates the commitments family members have made, and solidify those commitments with signatures that verify that everyone understands and agrees to the plan. Be sure to date the contract in case changes are needed later on.”

In your situation you have an extensive family, so finding consensus will be a challenge.  I agree with all responders that the family needs to back off for now (this would be part of your family plan) and allow your grandparents to regain their sense of autonomy.  Once they feel a greater sense of control, they MIGHT be ready acknowledge their need for more help and make the choice to accept it (offered up in small steps).  If they don’t, then they will suffer the consequences, and none of you should feel guilty, say “I told you so,” or allow those consequences to become YOUR consequences.

If you feel the situation is very dangerous, you can always call your local Area Agency on Aging with a report of need.  The report can be made anonymously.

Terryjack1’s comment:

Definitely back off, no one likes to lose their independence and it’s difficult for some when they begin to lose skills such as their ambulation skills. It’s good they can use a walker but it sounds like they could use some physical therapy to strengthen their ambulation skills. Many don’t like strangers coming into the home, and it may be that your grandparents are afraid that if someone comes in they will be ‘made’ to go into a nursing home. Assure your grandparents that is not the case, there are many programs out there to keep people in their homes such as a waiver or senior care program. Call your local Area Agency on Aging to see what’s available in your area or to speak to someone for caregiver support. You can arrange someone to come out to visit your grandparents to explain about home and community based programs that are designed to keep people at home and they can reassure your grandparents that no one wants to see them in a nursing home. They have a right to make choices, but the choices need to there so they can choose. I’m a caregiver, I’m over 50 and I have medical issues that have brought on a decline in my functioning so I know how difficult it can be to accept assistance. You grandparents have always ‘done’ for themselves and now that they can’t it’s difficult for them to admit that and accept help. Continue to reassure them that you want them to stay in their home and there is help available to those who need it to keep them in their home. Most important of all is to let them know you love them and want them to be around for a long time.

Lostfamily’s comment:

The same type of issues were coming up with my dad. We knew he could not live alone, the doctor even said that he should not live alone, but he wanted to stay in his home, and the family was getting so stressed out and worn down, making sure he had meals, personal hygiene, outings or some social life and keeping his home clean, getting him to doctors’ appointments, etc. it took all four of us full time just to get it all done. After years, he could still not see all of the work it took, so the 4 of us decided to back off. We made sure that he had food, made the house as safe as possible, life alert, cell phone, he could not drive a car, so we sold the car, we did not want him getting behind the wheel, but wanted him to keep his social contact, like meeting the guys at McDonald’s for coffee, so we got him a electric scooter, and worried in silence that he did not get hurt. We visited him every day, but did not push him. Then something happened! He said that he wanted to see us all; he told us that he could not do it by himself. He told us he was willing to visit an Assisted Living Facility; he decided which facility he preferred. Your grandparents will never see how much is being done for them, unless they experience it for themselves. They still see that they are able of doing it on their own. They have to see for themselves that they cannot do it on their own. If they have a fall, or they miss a meal, be there to support them; when they are ready, they will be ready on their terms. Your biggest problem is your family. Unless, the whole family can agree to step back, the grandparents cannot ever figure it out. Why should they, as long as they are the center of attention, and being waited on for every need, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to change either.

WTDAM (me again) comment:

Great example, “lostfamily” of using the approach I outlined above. And as I said on p. 50 of “What to Do about Mama?”: Of primary importance is the individual who needs the assistance and care. If that person’s values and wishes are not respected and taken into consideration, you are bound to run into resistance and conflict. Who doesn’t want to remain in the driver’s seat of life? It is imperative to respect your loved one’s independence and dignity—it is, after all, that person’s right to make choices and decisions.

Barbara Matthews

 

Tag Cloud

Sing - a - Sonja

Peace with your past, present in the now, excited for the future!

alzheimersactivitiesPLUS

Fun things to do with people with memory loss and tips for caregivers

cancer killing recipe

Just another WordPress.com site

Advocacy, Book Reviews, Death, Dying, and End of Life Information

"We should be present, respectful, compassionate, empathic, and mentors to others."

Not quite the plan

on finding my groove as a 30 something single girl and caregiver for mom with dementia

DEMENTED

The Politically Incorrect Alzheimers Poetry Blog

The Memories Project

Preserving family memories, caring for caregivers

Mom & Dad Care

Caring For Your Aging Parents

Help! Aging Parents

A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

An Only Childs Journey into Parent Care

When you are the only one left....

The WordPress.com Blog

A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

SUNBURY PRESS BOOKS

Publisher of hard cover, trade paperback, and eBooks

The Selfish Caregiver

Some thoughts on grieving and caregiving when you're young and self-absorbed.