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50+: Live Better, Longer

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Getting Help from Other Caregivers

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Grandma will be more likely to enjoy a program that offers the right activities -- something that interests her and suits her abilities.

Does your local high school offer courses in home economics? The school might give credit to a student for helping you care for your loved one.

All home care is not equal. Options range from having a caregiver live in the home full-time, to rotating several workers who live outside the home, to having part-time help for when you are not available or need a rest. The type of care you arrange will also depend on your senior's needs, whether it is housekeeping, personal care, or medical supervision. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for information on the different levels of care available to you.

When hiring caregivers, check references carefully. Personal recommendations are best. When speaking with past employers, ask about the biggest mistake the person ever made, especially if the caregiver is getting a glowing overall report. No one's perfect.

Call elder care agencies in the morning, when they seem to have more time to give you their attention.

Don't let any caregiver just "take over;" your loved one should remain in charge as much as possible while getting necessary help.

Be clear from the beginning as to your expectations of a caregiver. Be specific about duties: answering the phone, watering the plants, handling mail, dealing with pets, shopping, cooking, and so on. Also, find out about the caregiver's expectations for the job. What tasks are they trained to do? Are there tasks that they cannot (or will not) do?

Dad will no doubt have complaints about his caregivers, and some of these complaints may be quite serious. You need to take all complaints seriously. Even if the exact version your father gives you may turn out to be only part of the story, your investigating will assure him that he is being respected, and caregivers will know that you are paying close attention.

If you've accused a caregiver of bad behavior and it turns out you were wrong, let him know. This is really important. Good caregivers take pride in their work, and being wrongly accused of something can be devastating to anyone.

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