Arlinda Moriarty Has Help for the Caregivers

arlindaphotohandBy Arlinda Moriarty

As the country experiences a rise in our baby boomer population, many of you may find yourselves in a situation that most of us will face at one time or another; and that is having to either find a nursing facility for a dependent loved one, or go through the challenges of seeking help from a home healthcare aide to come into your home, or the home of a family member to care for them.

If you are not a caregiver yet, there is a high probability that you will be.  Whether you are caring for a sick family member, you are taking care of a disabled child, or you have moved mom, dad or a grandparent in to live with you; you have joined the ranks of millions who have found themselves caring for someone who can no longer care for themselves.

Know that home healthcare services are not just for seniors; many persons with disabilities may have access to the same services as well.

If you decide that home healthcare is the way to go, I would like to offer you some guidance that will help make your choices be less daunting.

As the President and CEO of a home healthcare business that I have owned for 16 years, I understand the struggles you will have as you attempt to explore the best quality care in a safe environment.  I suggest that you not bear the burden alone of having to seek out services.

Invite other family members to give their input and reach out to friends, and even professionals in the home healthcare industry, who can give you some solid advice.

I am aware that there are families that may consist of several willing siblings, aunts, uncles and other relatives; but it is not unusual to find that only a few are willing to take on the responsibility of assuring quality care for a family member.  Please know that you are not alone.

I recommend that you make it clear what your needs are as the main caregiver, and find out what you can expect from siblings in the way of on-hands assistance, time, and financial responsibilities; if needed.

One of the first questions that you might have about services is, “How will I pay for them?”  You may be surprised to learn that, although private pay can be based on needs and services; depending on the nature of your family member’s health status; many of the services may not impact their pocket directly. Check with Allegheny County Human Services to find out what services are paid for, and which ones may simply be partially subsidized.

Also, check with their insurance or Medicaid provider.

Once you have gone through the necessary steps to acquire assistance, be very clear of what you would actually like the home healthcare provider to do for your loved one.

It is also important that you as the caregiver give yourself some care as well. Most caregivers will probably agree that the challenge of trying to balance their lives while attempting to care for others can be extremely overwhelming. The feeling of anxiety and even anger and resentment can come over you.

So where does the person who everyone else depends on go to get some relief? I recommend several options for you to start the process of caring for yourself.

  1. Ask for help –  Be realistic, there will be some people who won’t help you no matter how many times you ask. You have become the go-to person in the family.  Accept help when you can get it, and however little you may get…be realistic about your expectations.
  1. Relieve the Guilt – Don’t be too hard on yourself; know that you are doing the best you can. Prioritize those responsibilities that won’t be a barrier to addressubg your own personal needs.
  1. Find a Support System – Consider getting involved in a support group. Connect with   people who are experiencing the same life –altering experiences.
  1. Be Realistic – It is disheartening to think that there may come a time when you can no longer handle the demands of being a caregiver, and you have to make a decision to place your loved one in the hands of an organization that provides nursing or residential home services. Just know your rights as an advocate and the rights of your loved-one as a patient or client.

RESOURCES:

Department of Human Services
Described as: meeting the human service needs of county residents. http://www.county.allegheny.pa.us/human-services

Area Agency on Aging
Assists Allegheny County residents, 60 years of age and older, to live safe, healthy and, when possible, independent lives.

Achievia
ACHIEVA supports and empowers individuals with disabilities and their families. http://www.achieva.info

Arch National Respite Network
A national network of resource centers throughout the country. http://archrespite.org

Google
The Internet can become your best friend and your greatest resource. www.google.com

Arlinda Moriarty is the President and CEO of Moriarty Consultants, Inc., a non-medical in-home care service dedicated to providing quality services to promote independent living, habilitation and rehabilitation of consumers of the waiver services. Their goal is to help maintain independent living in their homes. www.moriartyconsultants.com

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