My parents require 24 hour care, but we can't afford to hire someone. What should I do?

7 answers | Last updated: Oct 02, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

our mom & dad now require someone being with them 24/7.There's just me & my younger sister. She works every day & I'm a stay at home housewife. For the past 2 months, I've been staying with my parents during the day & my sister stays with them at night. I also do all of their house cleaning, washing their clothes & prepare 2 meals a day, plus I'm the one that takes them to their doctor appts. Now my sister is saying she can't go on much longer says she's not getting enough sleep at night to hold down her job. I guess she figures since I don't work, that I can stay with them both night & day. We can't afford to hire someone to help out. Please can you help me .

Expert Answers

Kay Paggi, GCM, LPC, CGC, MA, is in private practice as a geriatric care manager and is on the advisory board for the Emeritus Program at Richland College. She has worked with seniors for nearly 20 years as a licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor, and certified geriatric care manager.

Unfortunately, even the best, most well-meaning caregivers cannot provide adequate in-home care for chronically ill parents indefinitely. The quality of care will suffer, the caregivers will become overwhelmed or unable to maintain their other commitments, or there will be a crisis that cannot be managed because the caregivers energy and resources are depleted from constant caregiving.

Adult children often make mighty efforts, and are willing to forego their own lives and endanger their futures - but the strain usually will defeat their best efforts.

It is unfair of the parents to make this demand of their offspring, and devalues the value of their children's love and concern. Out of love and true concern, a solution must be found that is the best for everyone in the family, not just the parents.

If there is not enough money to fund paid caregivers, then care can be found in a nursing home that is reimbursed by Medicaid. That is what this federal program is for. It is not ideal. But it does allow for the adult children to have a life, to care for their own children, and to keep a job that will help fund their own old age.

Once physical needs are met by the staff of a nursing home, quality needs can be lovingly met by the adult children and other family members, friends, and neighbors. Remember that your parents are not likely to improve; most chronic illnesses worsen with time. This means that providing care will become more difficult, even as your energy and patience gets lower and lower. Caregiving is exhausting, both mentally and physically.

You and your sister are your parents best assets. Take care to preserve their assets. Believe it or not, you will not always be there: caregivers who are over taxed are at higher risk for accidents, falls, illness, depression, and other forms of burnout. If you are too tired, who will cope with the next emergency? The responsible thing is to find a solution for the routine care you and your sister are providing now, so that you can provide the quality of life care that makes life worth living, and still have the energy to cope with the next crisis, and the one after that, and the one after that. Take care of yourself.

Community Answers

Justice1 answered...

Your DEPARTMENT OF AGING AND DISABILITY will have all the answers you need. They will explain the CBA program. It's all you need. Also check with area churches.

Momneedshelp answered...

If your father (or mother) was in the service and especially if they saw active duty, please check out VA Aid & Attendance programs. It's free to apply and your VA office will fill out the paperwork for you. They will pay part of Assisted Living or home care for your parents. GOOD LUCK TO YOU. Also, call or visit your local Area Aging office for help.

Ceevee answered...

Currently I am in a similar position with a mother who's health is progressively deteriorating. My sibling and I are beginning to research possible solutions. The first step will be to determine if Mom is eligible for Medicaid. I recommend you start this step as well.

If she is eligible, then you can begin to search for appropriate nursing homes.

I hope your situation has good options available to you.

Namaste answered...

Depending on your parents physical and cognitive status, an assisted living may be an appropriate placement. The VA is one resource if applicable and depending on your state Medicaid program, this may be another. Not just for nursing home, but assisted living as well. If they can manage with in home care, then that may be another option of course if they qualify for Medicaid. As referenced above, your Area Agency on Agining will be a great contact.

Good luck - oh and don't forget Adult Day Health, which is a cheaper alternative to all day care and if they qualify Medicaid will pay for that as well. In Georgia there may be a cost share depending on income.

Caring community answered...

Hi no government help,

I'm so sorry to hear about your situation, it sounds very difficult. We have a good paying for care section that may be of help. In addition, you can ask our experts by submitting your question here.

I hope this helps.

Jeff | Community Team

Amarie answered...

If someone cannot afford home care then adult day care would not be affordable either, nor would the assisted living, perhaps the assisted living is less expensive in another states other than NY where I live. My dad was in a Nursing home and was not being well taken care of, so my sister and I was told about "I Circle Care" it is a new kind of home care here in NY state, because dad received medicaid for the 9 months in the nursing home, we worked on getting him from nursing home medicaid to MLTC a medicaid paid insurance program. From there "I Circle" provided the adjustable bed, gel mattress he needed, the depends, wheel chair, and many other things he needed for daily care including 8 hour a day care some people receive more than that. But it is a start so that the family can also get a break. Caring for your parents are well worth the effort, you will not regret it. I promise. My loving and devoted dad passed away couple months ago, I miss him, but I am so glad I was there for him the past several years as his health decline due to Alzheimer, He passed away with family by his side in a familiar surrounding knowing his family loved him. I wish you all the best.