The 3 Most Critical Mistakes Family Caregivers Make and How to Avoid Them

caregiving mistakes

Struggling with daily caregiving stress?

Here are the top 3 mistakes family caregivers make that lie at the heart of the problem.

Whether caregiving for a loved one, be it your kids, a friend, or an elderly parent, it can be quite an ordeal, even if you know what you are doing. 

As in other areas of daily living, we pick up bad habits and easy fixes instead of following a proven process.  

We get used to doing some things in a particular way. We don’t know when we started; we only remember we’ve always done it that way. 

So let’s cover 3 of these very common and costly mistakes we see caregivers make every day, and how you can avoid them.  

 

MISTAKE #1 –YOU are doing ALL the caregiving.  

We like to say: “as far as family caregiving goes, decisions always trump conditions.”  

When you allow yourself to become a full time caregiver to your parents you give control to the conditions instead of leading with smart decisions. 

You are doing your parents a disservice while simultaneously putting your own quality of life, health, and happiness at risk. This is a guaranteed ticket to an early grave for you! 

This doesn’t mean you don’t get involved in your Mom’s care plan, on the contrary, get involved, but in a smart and meaningful way. You are no good to anyone burnt out and totally spent. 

 

SOLUTION – Caregiving is a team sport.   

First: Build a hand-picked team around you starting with a Home Care Agency that will provide you with proper guidance and qualified personnel on demand. 

Reach out to a Social Worker or Care Manager. They have a world of experience and practical information at their fingertips. 

Keep your Doctor in the loop even though he may not be as involved in the day to day of family caregivers, he/she’s still a great community resource. 

Keep a list of community resources handy.  

Forge relationships with other family caregivers that share a similar situation to yours. There’s strength in numbers!  

Be Smart… Build your team! 

 

MISTAKE #2  –Not staying current on elder caregiver options and resources. 

In caregiving, information is TRUE POWER! 

I can’t tell you how many sons and daughters we speak to on a weekly basis that come to us frustrated and with absolutely no idea of what to do with a parent that was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. 

Staying current on caregiving issues even before a crisis strikes is always the right strategy, but let’s face it, we are not built that way. Prevention is never a good incentive for us to get off our butts! 

Fear and discomfort on the other hand… 

 

SOLUTION – Focus on solution to mistake #1 above.

You’ll never learn as well or as fast than with actual professionals working with you. There are also plenty of resources that can guide and educate you, and in some cases get you the help you need outright.  

 

MISTAKE #3 –Not knowing the difference between hiring a home health aide through an agency vs. hiring privately.  

 This is probably the most expensive and time consuming of all mistakes, because is the least understood and the most misapplied. 

The popular belief is that hiring an aide privately will be generally less expensive than going through an agency. Though there are benefits to doing this, it isn’t always the case. 

 

SOLUTION – The right answer to this question is that there is no right answer. It depends on your circumstances. Instead let’s consider the pros and cons and YOU be the judge! 

 *modified from original pros&cons article. 

 

PRIVATE CAREGIVER  (No Agency

PROS 

  • You are in charge of the selection process and making the final decision.
  • Hiring a private caregiver is generally cheaper than hiring through a home care agency.
  • You are giving caregivers an opportunity to work independently and for better wages.

CONS

  • It may be difficult to find qualified caregivers.
  • You will need a back-up plan when your caregiver is not available.
  • Conducting personal interviews, checking references, and performing background checks are time consuming tasks.
  • You are responsible for managing employee payroll and tax records, as well as withholding social security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes.
  • You are liable for job related accidents in your home.

  

 HOME CARE AGENCY 

 PROS 

  • You have the possibility of several caregivers to choose from.
  • Most agencies offer back-up caregivers when your regular caregiver is not available.
  • Nurse assistants have formal training and certification that is verified upon hire.
  • Caregiver references and background checks are reviewed at the time of hire.
  • Home care agencies are required to supervise their aides and evaluate performance.
  • Caregivers participate in ongoing training.
  • Licensed home care agencies carry liability insurance, and many have worker’s compensation. 
  • Employees are insured or bonded to protect you against theft and damages.

 CONS 

  • Different caregivers may be sent causing a disruption in the care of your parents.
  • Home care agencies cost more (usually $3-$9 more per hour) than private caregivers because they have expenses related to recruitment, hiring, payroll deductions, and ongoing supervision and training of employees.

The best agencies focus on the quality and accessibility of the aides they send to your house, they obsess about it. As well as the best chefs obsess about the quality and freshness of the food they prepare. 

As you can see, making the decision to hire a home health aide based solely on budget would be a mistake.  

When helping family caregivers in general, our strategy has always been to approach each family’s unique situation as such and perform good assessments in order to provide the right advice based on facts. This helps key family members make the right decision because they are now properly informed and educated. 

So there you have it, 3 costly mistakes family caregivers are making and how to avoid them.  

 

To Get Instant Access To The FREE Elder Care Guide That Will Go Deeper and Expand On What You Just Learned, CLICK HERE!

 

claudioalegreClaudio Alegre is the Chief Content Writer for Angel Home Care Services on the Web and Patient and Family Advocate off the Web.  He lives in Miami with his wife and 3 boys. He’s passionate about healthcare and all things caregiving. He can be reached at calegre@angelhcs.com or directly at 305.220.4544

 

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We help families get the personal care services at home they need and deserve regardless of the insurance landscape or personal situation!

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