An estimated 44 million family members are caring for aging and disabled loved ones at home, according to AARP. Many of them don’t understand the benefits of home care support services, or have the misconception that it’s an all-or-nothing situation. In other words, some families believe they either hire home care aides and are no longer needed or that they must do everything to support this aging parent or other individual in their family.
There’s a lot of misinformation being relayed in the general public realm about caregiving and home care support services, and while many of these family members won’t actually look into home care until they are completely burned out or in over their heads, home care agencies could do well to provide resources and information for these very individuals who are struggling to care for someone they love.
According to Lois Simon, Executive Vice President of Policy & Programs at SeniorLink, Inc., in her op-ed piece Viewpoint: Mass. is at forefront of family care giving, published by Boston Business Journal:
“From policymakers to employers, Massachusetts has almost 20 years of experience supporting and championing family caregivers in health care. By fostering the creation and growth of innovative programs such as the first-of-its-kind Adult Foster Care program, Massachusetts citizens — those in need of care and their family caregivers alike — have benefited from supports that focus on caregivers. They include the help of professional care coaches in the home, improved respite care options, and advancements in mobile technology that make support in real time, anytime, possible. Some Massachusetts employers, including those of my own past (Commonwealth Care Alliance) and present (Seniorlink), have provided for flexibility in the work environment that make it possible for their employees to care for loved ones in need and remain productive members of their staff.”
While Lois Simon is focused on employers supporting their workers who are caring for disabled and elderly members of their family at home, information is a critical component of quality care. By providing information, it opens up an integral component of a relationship between home care support and those currently caring for family.
As the Baby Boomer generation retires, there will be even more people unwittingly and unwillingly taking on the role of caregiver. As home care agencies reach out, connect with, and offer valuable information and resources to these men and women, even if they don’t initially hire aides or visiting nurses, there will inevitably grow a stronger relationship between the two and reputation for the agency itself, and that could lead to a stronger business model for the future.
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