To figure out what could help in your situation, it's useful to know about the most commonly available types of professional caregiving.
In respite care, professional caregivers give regular family caregivers a break from their duties. (More information about respite care is in the section Caring for the Caregiver).
The links above mostly talk about help with medical matters or assistance in the activities of daily life - but other kinds of professional help may be available if wanted.
Even if family or friends have legal or financial expertise, it may be wise to get professional advice to avoid conflict within the family.
When updating a home for better safety, or if upkeep and repairs seems too expensive and overwhelming to seniors, Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley's Safe At Home program helps qualified homeowners. (In other regions, look for a local Rebuilding Together chapter.)
Perhaps what's needed is help with eating or cooking healthy meals. There are commercial services available, at different levels of skill and functional ability. And while many people are familiar with Meals on Wheels programs, did you know that through the Social Services Agency - County of Santa Clara, Meals on Wheels also brings a friendly face and social conversation along with nutrition?
If the responsibility to bring in expert help falls to the main caregiver (instead of to a social service office), then the next thing to decide is whether to employ that person independently, or to go through a hiring agency. The following links list the pros and cons of each method from both perspectives:
If the decision is made to hire independently, keep in mind that recent changes in employment law probably mean that they will be your employee, and not an independent contractor.
In some cases the VA Administration authorizes (and covers, at least in part) home health care:
When interviewing helper candidates, these are important questions to ask:
Be sure to discuss information gathered from these resources with your health care providers to see if it is relevant to your individual situation. Health and medical information accessed through these websites is not intended to substitute for or to replace the advice or instruction of a health care professional.
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