A caregiver is a person who takes care of a someone with a chronic disease or illness, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. This could range from buying the groceries for grandma to hiring a live in caregiver who eats and sleeps in the same house as you do.
Caregiving duties might include helping to manage medications or helping to mediate with the medical profession. A caregiver might help bathe and dress you. She might even help with some household chores, meals and paying the bills. As you can see, many of us have been involved with these duties at some point for someone that we loved. In fact, one third of all people fall into the caregiver category at some point in their lives.
Many times, the caregiver starts out being a spouse or family member. If the situation changes, the demands for caregiving might change also. What are the options? This is also a good time to make sure that wills, living wills, and power of attorney papers are taken care of.
If the caregiving required is too much for the family to handle, physically, mentally, or medically, you can hire help. Medicare does not pay for long term care in the home. It pays for a short term stay in the hospital, up to 100 days. It will also pay for “skilled care” visits to the home if they are approved by a doctor.
There are agencies that will provide visits to the home for hourly rate. These agencies provide the scheduling and supervision for the caregivers. They will usually require a minimum of 3-4 hour visits at a cost of $15-$25 per hour. This is unskilled care and covers many of the duties listed above.
If the situation demands more attention, a live in caregiver can be hired to provide care around the clock. The caregivers from the agency don’t actually live in your house. They will usually work in teams and return to their own home between shifts. You will be required to provide them with food and a place to sleep. The caregiver is still be expecting to get a regular night’s sleep. They will receive a daily salary, rather than an hourly rate. If hospice is involved, the caregiver will be given training by them.
If the patient’s medical condition changes to the point of requiring care during the night also, the change will have to be made to the next level of live in caregiving, which is 24 hour care by on an hourly basis, so that the caregiver is there all of the time.