As your mom gets older, her health changes. This is bringing a myriad of new issues to light. Maybe she has dementia and is reaching a point where she cannot be alone. She may have had a stroke and requires help with personal care, housekeeping, and transportation.
Whatever reason is leading to this discussion, your family is talking about her care needs. One question that you’re asking is if it’s best for you and your siblings to take care of her.
Isn’t caring for your mom always the best option? It can be a difficult decision, but sometimes it’s best to say no.
The Points You Need to Discuss
When you care for an aging parent, it’s very likely that you’re still working a part-time or full-time job. Many family caregivers are well below retirement age. If you stop working to care for your mom, you have to think about the things you’re likely to lose.
You’ll lose health insurance and dental insurance coverage that’s paid in part by your employer. If your employer matches your 401k contributions, you risk losing that retirement income. You could end up losing short-term disability coverage, group life insurance, and FMLA.
Does your employer pay for college or continuing education programs? You’d lose that. It’s a lot to give up.
Plus, you don’t know how long you’ll be caring for your mom. If it keeps you out of work for five or ten years, reentering the workforce can be challenging.
If all of that is okay with you, you have to stop and think about the things your mom needs help completing. Are there tasks you’re not comfortable helping her complete? Are there things she wouldn’t want your help with?
You may not be comfortable helping bathe your mom. Even if you are, she might not be comfortable having you bathe her. How about oral care? Are you okay brushing and flossing your mom’s teeth or dentures? Is she comfortable with you helping with the more intimate care needs?
What Are the Alternatives?
You and your siblings can’t devote the time needed to provide your mom’s care. What are your options? Ask family friends and other close family members to see if anyone has availability. There is a chance that someone else will want to help out.
As you line up help for your mom, check carefully for gaps in care. Those gaps are where you’ll want to hire home care aides. Schedule visits from professional caregivers to help her with her activities of daily living.
If no one is free to help her, home care services are a tremendous help. Your mom doesn’t have to try to manage on her own. She has caregivers stopping by as scheduled to help her out. Talk to a home care specialist to learn more.