Sometimes it creeps up on you when you notice that your aging parent has nothing in the refrigerator except a jar of pickles, some Monterey Jack cheese and a pot of mustard. Other times the need for caregiving arrives in an instant when your mother breaks her hip or your father has a stroke. When it’s a gradual thing, you may start by handling those small things yourself. These may include stopping by on the weekends to help with vacuuming and getting the laundry done, folded and put away. Or cooking a few meals that can make do for more than one dinner.
As the needs grow for your loved one, you may reach out to your church or another source for someone who can “look in” on your parent every day. You may even hire a “housekeeper” who can do more than just keep house. Perhaps she can help your parent get bathed and dressed. Of course, you don’t actually hire that person; you pay her a set amount for specific duties. You pay by cash. At this point, you may have already begun “under the table” caregiving.
The caregiving industry includes many companies that offer licensed, bonded caregivers or nurses who you can hire by the hour or by the day. So why don’t we all go first to one of these companies? The perception that it may be too expensive is usually the first answer one hears. Think of your own situation as your mother or father needs increasing care. You may offer a licensed and bonded caregiver, one that you have personally screened, and your parent says no. On the other hand, your parent’s housekeeper who has been helping with the cleaning for several years may offer to do more. Or she may have a sister, brother or friend who can help. Your parent typically says yes to this kind of help. You are now on the path to an under the table arrangement.
The potential perils of arranging for informal care are large. What if the caregiver gets hurt on the job or inadvertently injures your parent? And yet, it can seem so much easier to hire a “housekeeper” than a license caregiver.
The other option, an assisted living or memory care community, may be the most cost effective way to make sure all of your parent’s needs, including social ones, are met in a safe and secure environment. At SGD Advertising, we work with both caregiving companies and senior retirement communities.
If it were my mother, I would want to make sure that whoever is providing care has the credentials to do it competently, safely and compassionately.
SGD is a full-service Bay Area advertising, marketing, branding and public relations agency specializing in seniors, boomers and adult children. In addition to working with new communities, we’ve repositioned, rebranded and relaunched senior living communities in California, Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia attaining occupancy rates of 90% or more in very competitive markets.
About the Author: Duff Reiter is an Account Director / Planner at SGD Advertising specializing in senior / boomer, healthcare, lifestyle, financial, travel / leisure and technology brands since 1984.