An increasing number of family caregivers are performing more complex medical care for their family members at home. According to Home Alone Revisited: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Care, a report prepared jointly by AARP and the United Hospital Fund, there is an increase in the number of family caregivers performing tasks that would, in the past, have been provided under the direct supervision of a medical professional.
You may be tempted to treat a caregiver as a “private contractor” in order to avoid the humbug of tax withholding and buying the right insurance policies. You would do so at your peril. The IRS and the state will take the position that the caregiver is an employee, that you are an employer and that all of the legal obligations that attach to those labels apply to your situation.
Are you caring for someone over 60 who is living at home? Then, Project Dana has a special program just for you, called the “Caring Giver Support Group” or CGSG. Using education and group training sessions, CGSG helps caregivers to better understand their loved ones while learning to care for themselves, as well. Group sessions are also a safe place to connect and talk story about the joys and frustrations of being a caregiver.
As caregivers we reap the benefits of being of service, in a very personal way sometimes, to those that we love. But as the disease/disorders/illnesses rob our loved ones of the spontaneity, intimacy, and active partnership we once had, it also robs us as the caregivers. Our world changes differently than those that we are caring for.
When hiring a caregiver, you may be tempted to try to make the process as simple as possible by treating the caregiver as a “private contractor.” You tell the person “I will pay you so much an hour, and you deal with the IRS and the State when it comes time to pay taxes.” After all, taking on the responsibilities of withholding taxes (and then paying the taxing authorities), buying Workers’ Compensation insurance, paying Social Security and Medicare tax, and all the rest, can be a real pain. However, the IRS and the State will take the position that the caregiver is an “employee,” that you are an “employer,” and that all the legal obligations that attach to those labels are applicable to your situation.
Home healthcare providers are often asked what makes a better caregiver. The answer is that, while many factors come to mind, an interest in learning is high on the list, and essential to a caregiver’s progress. For example, an important role caregivers have is recognizing when an individual’s health condition is changing. Those who can reflect and learn from these changes often develop into better caregivers.
Family caregivers of older adults undergo fairly predictable stages in their caregiving careers. Each stage brings different challenges and requires different kinds of help for both the care receiver and family caregiver.
Former first lady Rosalynn was a caregiver herself and she believed that family caregiving is a cycle of life that touches everyone. Here, four people, each at a different point on the cycle, share their care stories from the heart, offering words of wisdom and points of caution. As you read, consider your journey on the Cycle of Caregiving. Where are you? Are you prepared?
In home care, a question I often get is how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s who asks the same questions over and over again. To better understand and manage what’s going on, it helps to first know a bit on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
It’s a mistake for family caregivers to forget about their own well-being while caring for their loved ones. Many feel guilty for taking time off for a spa day or a staycation. I encourage them to accept it’s perfectly OK to get away and return reinvigorated and refreshed.