Twenty-nine percent of the population cares for a relative at some point in their lives. This decision has a range of pros and cons, and ultimately, it is a personal choice. To help you decide if you should care for your relative or outsource their care, here are some points to consider:
Cost of Home Care
The cost of home care varies from place to place, and in many cases, private insurance may cover the cost. Unfortunately, Medicare does not pay for 24-hour care, but it may cover the cost of home care that includes physical therapy or other necessary health services.
In some states, Medicare will even reimburse a family member for taking care of their relative. Even if Medicare does not reimburse you, you may be able to charge your relatives to provide care for them. Whether you charge your relative or not, it can take a lot of time to provide care for a sick or injured loved one.
One of the biggest factors to weigh when deciding if you should provide care for a family member is the time commitment. On average, people who care for their family members devote at least 20 hours per week to the task. Over ten percent of these people devote over 40 hours per week. If you don't have that kind of time, being a caretaker for a family member might not be the right decision for you.
Even if you keep your job, you may end up needing to adjust your schedule. Nearly two-thirds of people who care for relatives have to ask their bosses to change their schedule, and 20 percent of relative caregivers have to take a leave of absence from their job. This can take its toll economically.
Paying for someone to come into your home and care for your relative can cost money, but on the other hand, as explained above, providing care on your own can prevent you from working.
Unfortunately, if you are a female caregiver, you are 2.5 times more likely to be in poverty than a woman who does not care for her relative. This is important to consider as you make this decision. In many cases, the financial strain leads people to make potentially uncomfortable decisions about living arrangements.
Many seniors want to keep living on their own, and having home care from an outside source allows them to do that. However, when the economy gets tight, patients are likely to move in with their caregiving relatives.
In fact, in 2009, when the the world went through the global economic meltdown, 1 in 5 caregivers had to move in with their family members. That is 20 percent of all caregivers. The extra stress of living together or even just being responsible for another person's well being can also take its toll on your health.
Caring for a family member can be a great way to feel love and bonding, but it can affect you mentally and physically. According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, caregivers who take care of a relative with dementia feel the impact of that relationship on their immune system.
On average, these effects can last three years. In many cases, people who are busy taking care of an ill or elderly relative ignore their own health, and they are more likely to skip doctor's appointments, eat unhealthy foods, and get depressed.
Taking care of a relative can be time consuming, expensive, and unhealthy. In many cases, it is better to outsource the care to a home care professional. To learn more about outsourcing homecare and how it can help you, contact a home care provider. Check out sites like www.comforcare.com for more information.