Hail to the Caregiver!

Hello readers! I’m so happy that you found me and Stay at Home Seniors here on my little slice of the web. I’m Sofia and I’ve created Stay at Home Seniors for all you amazing caregivers who give your time, attention, money and love to the seniors in your life. My goal is to help, just a little, make it easier for you to keep your senior living at home as long as possible. Or better yet, a lot easier!

Since this is my first post I wanted to start this site by honoring and acknowledging all that you do for the senior in your life; whether it is your parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling or other family member who is lucky enough to be in your care. You may be caring for a senior once in a while to run errands. You may help you father a few times a week to shop and cook meals. You might be a long distance family caregiver, or you may have your senior living with you in your home and providing 24 hour care. Regardless of your circumstances, you are a caregiver, and I take my hat off to you! It is often a silent, lonely and thankless responsibility. If no one has told you lately, I think you are AMAZING! I believe in acknowledging the miraculous efforts of caregivers across the country and to recognize the sacrifices that you have made. I don’t think that as a society we take very good care of our seniors, certainly not as good as they do in other countries. So I thank you for all the sacrifices that you have made so that your senior can stay living at home and avoid, or at least delay, an out of home placement.

You have a difficult responsibility. Don’t be modest; you know that your life has changed since you started providing care. It’s not the same as caring for a child. You get to plan having a child (most of the time), you look forward to it and make all the exciting

What did you Dream of?

arrangements. Having a child is something to anticipate with excitement. Caring for a parent, grandparent, or other senior is quite different! When we are young we may have looked forward to growing up and having children. We may have played with our baby dolls and imagined what it would be like to raise children and provide all the care that they needed and receiving unconditional love back in return. I don’t think many of us hoped and dreamed of becoming a caregiver to our relative when they got old. And there aren’t adult size dolls for us to practice transferring and changing diapers on. (OK, maybe there are, but I’ve never heard of anyone using them that way!). And I’ve not heard of any gift registries to share with family and friends so they can shower you with all the things that you will need to provide care to your senior. (Hmmm, my next business venture?)

Caring for elders is often dropped suddenly in your lap out of a crisis situation. You all have different stories, but each of you has sacrificed something in your life in order to be able to provide the care needed by your senior. Each thing that you have given up to help your senior trickles down to other parts of your life.

As a caregiver, much of what you give is your time. It can be a 24 hour job, even if only in your stressed-out mind that worries all the time. With only 24 hours in a day, you have had to borrow time from other areas of your life such as time with your children, spouse, friends or hobbies. Going to your child’s school event might have to go by the wayside so that you can take mom to her doctor’s appointment. Spending so much time and energy on you grandfather might cause a strain in your marriage.

You’ve also given up time to take care of yourself; to exercise or get health check ups, or to tend to your own mental and spiritual needs. You’ve given up sleep when your senior is sick or having a hard time getting through the night. You’ve pulled all-nighters while sitting in the emergency room or just staying up late worrying or providing care. Or maybe you’ve had to cut back on work, or quit work altogether; therefore losing out on income. You’ve given up so much and I thank you, and your senior thanks you.

Providing care for your senior may also cost you financially. According to a study conducted by Evercare, the average family who

Cost of Caring

provided senior care to a family member spent over $5,000 per year out of pocket for items that the senior needed. Your out of pocket monthly expense for caring for your senior could be $300 to as much as $1000 per month. It’s a big financial sacrifice to make sure that they are safe and well cared for at home. Not everyone would, or could, do what you are doing for your senior, and you deserve recognition and thanks.

Not only are you spending money out of your own pocket, but I’m betting that you may not have ever even considered how much you are saving your neighbors money too. What am I talking about? Well, while keeping your senior in your care you are keeping them out of long term care, which is paid for my medicaid (medi-cal in California). While medicaid is a federal insurance program for the low income, it is administered individually by each state. Seniors must spend down their liquid assets in order to be eligible for medicaid, then medicaid will pay for long term nursing home care. But states need more money than the federal government gives them. So where do you think the states get the extra money? You guessed it. From your neighbors, friends and relatives in the form of taxes. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average cost of long term nursing home care in the my state of California ranges from $75,000 to $91,250 per year, and that is not even in a private room! Not that I would ever make anyone feel bad or guilty about having to place a senior family member in a nursing home, because there are plenty of times when that is appropriate, or even necessary, but by caring for your senior at home, you are essentially saving your neighbors money!

Celebrating you!

Wow, you are amazing and giving, and there is no one else out there like you! Your senior is so lucky to have you in their world, even though they may not show their gratitude much of the time, and even though you might not be feeling so lucky every day. You are fortunate that you are in a position to spend precious time with your senior, helping them to deal with the stage of life that they are in. Caregivers are a caring bunch who think of others first and who often put their own life on the back burner. They are patient and organized. But if you’re not feeling like you’re all of these things all of the time, it is quite alright. You are only human and doing the best you can under your circumstances. You still deserve recognition and thanks for all that you do! I want to thank you personally for all the sacrifices you make every day, and I hope that you are doing well. I hope that Stay at Home Seniors will help you and your senior stay well!

So if you haven’t gotten the gist of this post, and your want me say what I feel loud and clear, then here it is: HAIL TO YOU, YOU AMAZING CAREGIVER!! THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!

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