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Re: New to the caregiver position need help.

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@pfinley109 Hi Pennie! 

 

First, your Mom and her partner are so lucky to have you - your love and concern shine through and I'm quite sure she feels your desire to support, which means a lot in and of itself. You can do many things to support your Mom in her caregiving role - moral support, checking in, being a sounding board, listening non-judgementally when she needs to vent or be sad or triumphant or tired is truly helpful to us as caregivers. I am a caregiver too (my entire adult life in a variety of roles with family and friends) and currently my Dad is 93 and lives with me - he has Alzheimers. So I can attest that your caring support is valuable to your Mom!

 

Second, in reply to your request about how to find out about local supports for your Mom and her partner - I'd suggest these steps:

 

  • Since your Mom's partner is going to the VA hospital, I'm assuming he's a veteran and there are supports and services available through the VA for caregivers and for the vets themselves. There are two ways to help your Mom and her partner get supports and services:
    • Go to VA Caregiver Support website to look over the types of services they will provide and then call 1-800-855-260-3274 (in my experience you end up having to call even though the website is very helpful). They will connect you with someone local in your Mom's area who can help facilitate support and set things in motion. You may not be able to actually sign them up for services though - it will have to go through your Mom's partner most likely but they can talk with you about what is available etc. 
    • Your Mom and her partner need ask his VA doctor about home-based services and hospice care. The VA can provide both - services like help with bathing, a couple hours of housekeeping every week, respite care (someone to help out so your Mom gets a break). They can also provide medical equipment and supplies (such as incontinence supplies, gloves, wipes, oxygen etc etc.) The doctor has to put the orders in for it and then they will work with most likely a social worker to get everything set up. My Dad is a veteran and receives all of these services and may eventually get hospice through the VA also. The services and supplies are a big help to us and for Dad there is no co-pay (costs vary according to the veteran's service etc - there may be a small co-pay for some veterans). 
  • The VA may not be able to meet all their needs, so also contact the local area agency on aging and ask about caregiver supports, respite care, and any in-home services (home health aides, chore service, friendly visitors, transportation etc.) that might be helpful to your Mom and/or her partner when he comes home. You can find her local area agency on aging by going to www.eldercare.gov and put in her zip code. 

In terms of convincing your Mom it's ok to accept help - you might try to emphasize the fact that it's just practical. She can still be the primary caregiver, in charge and coordinate, but there are only so many hours in the day and she has to be rested, fresh and strong to do her part of the job. It's not selfish - it's practical - just like putting gas in your car - gotta have fuel to keep on keeping on! 

 

Hope this is helpful, and here are a few articles I've written for AARP that might also be helpful! 

11 Things Never to Say to a Caregiver - how to be supportive

A Little Help from Veterans Affairs - Tips for veterans and their caregivers

Tips for Caregiving at Home 

 

Please feel free to contact me directly if I can be of help! Best to you and your family, 

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

ABAAARP_JuggLfWkCaregvg_cover web 1.jpg

 

 

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Re: New to the caregiver position need help.

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@pfinley109 wrote:

Hello, my name is Pennie.  I am new to this caregiver thing.  I am doing my best to understand and know what my resources are to help my mother and her signaficant other of 33 years who has stage 4 lung cancer get through their lives as they know it today.  Right now her partner is in a rehab unit trying to recover from his latest eposide of being in the VA Hospital in Richmond becaue of his cancer.  My mother has been by his side ever since, makes the trips back n forth from the hospital and now the rehab unit practically every day.  She is not all that healthly herself, but takes responsibility in doing things on her own, without too much help from others.  I have taken some responsiblility in helping her as much as I can while working fulltime, taking care of my own family, and building a new home.

 

What I need the most and understand, what/where can I find caregiver services in her area and understand how I know they are the right fit for them.  How do I get my mother to understand she isn't a spring chicken any longer and get her to understand it is ok to ask for help.  Especially now that she is trying to take care of her partner who is dying of lung cancer.

 

It is so hard on all of us, meaning her children, grandchildren who want to help when we can but still take care of ourselves in the process too.

 

Life isn't gentle on us, but we need to know, we can only do what we can and not feel guilty in the same measure.

 

Appreciate any and all ideas, suggestions, supporters, etc. on knowing what I can do to help my mom.

 

Thanks,

Pennie


Pennie, welcome to the community. I am so happy to see so many of our members providing insight to you. I'd like to point you to some AARP resources that also may be of help:

 

Prepare to Care - this practical guide will help you find information, resources and checklists to help you get organized and find the support you might need. 

Help for First Time Caregivers

Help Caring for a Loved One with Cancer

 

Please don't hesitate to come back for any information you may need or even if it's just to vent. We are here for your. Write soon!

AARPJen
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Re: New to the caregiver position need help.

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Hello, my name is Pennie.  I am new to this caregiver thing.  I am doing my best to understand and know what my resources are to help my mother and her signaficant other of 33 years who has stage 4 lung cancer get through their lives as they know it today.  Right now her partner is in a rehab unit trying to recover from his latest eposide of being in the VA Hospital in Richmond becaue of his cancer.  My mother has been by his side ever since, makes the trips back n forth from the hospital and now the rehab unit practically every day.  She is not all that healthly herself, but takes responsibility in doing things on her own, without too much help from others.  I have taken some responsiblility in helping her as much as I can while working fulltime, taking care of my own family, and building a new home.

 

What I need the most and understand, what/where can I find caregiver services in her area and understand how I know they are the right fit for them.  How do I get my mother to understand she isn't a spring chicken any longer and get her to understand it is ok to ask for help.  Especially now that she is trying to take care of her partner who is dying of lung cancer.

 

It is so hard on all of us, meaning her children, grandchildren who want to help when we can but still take care of ourselves in the process too.

 

Life isn't gentle on us, but we need to know, we can only do what we can and not feel guilty in the same measure.

 

Appreciate any and all ideas, suggestions, supporters, etc. on knowing what I can do to help my mom.

 

Thanks,

Pennie

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Re: New to the caregiver position need help.

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Audrey,
It is a good idea to receive extra help for you and your mother. There are a number of ways to find an aide. You can receive personal references from friends, family and neighbors. You may be surprised that other people have been in the same situation and may a good candidate. You can check with local home care agencies who have certified candidates. Local agencies may be helpful. Jewish family services, Catholic health services, aging services may be able to help you find a good aide. You can use online services. Always check references no matter the source. Best of luck with your search
Dr. Marcy
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Re: New to the caregiver position need help.

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@l133304f wrote:

I took care of my mom after my step-father passed away.  She couldn't live by herself due to her health.  I moved my three small children and myself in with my mom to take care of her.  I got used to asking questions of anyone that I thought might know something helpful.  I didn't have a computer at that time, but almost everyone has a computer.  You can try doing a search for anything that you need help with, and if you don't get a good answer the first time try rewording the question.  That's how I got a start in learning how to be a caregiver, asking a lot of questions.


Hi Linda. This is good advice. How has it been since you moved in with your kids? Do you ever get a break from caregiving/ mothering? Other folks in the family who can help...give you a break... etc? I am just a little worried that you will exhaust yourself...

 

Jane, a mother hen sometimes

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I took care of my mom after my step-father passed away.  She couldn't live by herself due to her health.  I moved my three small children and myself in with my mom to take care of her.  I got used to asking questions of anyone that I thought might know something helpful.  I didn't have a computer at that time, but almost everyone has a computer.  You can try doing a search for anything that you need help with, and if you don't get a good answer the first time try rewording the question.  That's how I got a start in learning how to be a caregiver, asking a lot of questions.

Linda Forgiarini
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Re: New to the caregiver position need help.

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@a451866w wrote:

Good evening fellow caregivers. My name is Audrey and I use to teach. Right now I'm taking care of a wonderful 79 year old mother. Is there anyone who can tell me how I can get my mother an aide to come to our home? I learn as I go. I can sure use some guidance. Thank you.

 


Good morning, Audrey!

 

There are a few ways. The easy way costs money. Generally, the minimum cost for a home health aide is about 20 dollars an hour if you go through an agency, with a 4 hour minimum to make the trip worth while. There is some variation that depends on where you live. You can find aides for a bit less expensive if you pay them directly, say 15 an hour, but you have to do the vetting, the criminal check, and all that. If you hire directly for a long period, you might also need to consult an accountant about the taxes/ social security/ worker's compensation angle. 

 

Depending on what your mother needs done, perhaps an aide/companion is what you need: someone to drive her to the grocery store, to a matinee, to get her hair done. Someone to take her out for a short walk. No personal care needed (so no bathing or dressing or toileting.)  That can be less expensive, too. 

 

Another way depends a great deal on what state you live in. Some states, and counties or towns, have funds for respite care, which is care that gives YOU as the primary family caregiver, respite or rest. I used to work in Montgomery County Maryland which had a program like that. So you can google "respite program" and your location.

 

Yet another way is if your mother has Medicaid, there are some locales which follow funds from nursing home to home, allowing Medicaid to pay for aides to keep someone home who'd otherwise be in a nursing home.

 

You can call your local "Area Agency on Aging" by putting your zip code in at www.eldercare.gov and see what agency comes up. If i were you, i'd make an appointment and go meet in person with the social worker you find there. Ask about all kinds of things: meals on wheels, transportation help to doctor appointments, day programs, etc. Your tax payer dollars at work!

 

And of course, write more here. There are many people who've been in your shoes and have a depth of experience that is awe inspiring. Your mother is a lucky woman, and you, too, are enriching your own life by caring for her. You're learning what you want to do, and what to avoid, in your own aging. 

 

Please write more and tell us what's happening in your world. I'm very grateful you wrote here. We all have so much to share, and learn, and support, in one another's efforts to care for each other.

 

All the best,

Jane

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New to the caregiver position need help.

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Good evening fellow caregivers. My name is Audrey and I use to teach. Right now I'm taking care of a wonderful 79 year old mother. Is there anyone who can tell me how I can get my mother an aide to come to our home? I learn as I go. I can sure use some guidance. Thank you.

 

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