I have a client who is Navajo Indian. She says there’s an old Navajo adage that you come into this world as a baby and leave as a baby, while you generally take care of yourself in between.
Her husband developed dementia about a year ago and is living at home, and she talked about how hard it is to be a caregiver. Indeed, being a caregiver is a full-time task, since you have to adapt to the patient’s needs.
I’ve heard many sad and challenging stories about being a caregiver. You can be a healthy, loving spouse, but a minute later you are a caregiver or a patient. It got me reading and investigating.
Caring for someone who is frail or has a disability is a demanding job. One excellent book is “Caregiving – My Story – Your Guide” by Oliver DeSofi.
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DeSofi said his efforts were not tax deductible, but bringing in a company’s paid employee made the same work deductible. It didn’t seem fair, but check with your tax adviser.
So I started to investigate adult day care. Since I’m a financial planner, I want to learn more about the options that my clients might want to know.
There are two types of adult day care: adult social day care and adult health day care. The goals of both are to delay or prevent institutionalization by providing alternative care, enhancing self-esteem and encouraging socialization.
Both programs offer relief to family members and caregivers, allowing them to go to work, handle personal business or simply relax while knowing their relative is cared for and safe.
ADULT SOCIAL DAY CARE
This type provides social activities, meals, recreation and some health-related services. It can be done in your home or in a facility with other people.
Let’s start with in-home visits by licensed professionals. Adult social day care at home consists of supervised weekly daytime visits providing personal care services appropriate for adults without medical or disabling conditions. It does not require the intervention or services of a registered nurse or licensed rehabilitative therapist acting under the supervision of the client’s physician.
As for centers and facilities, most are open Monday through Friday during business hours. The home caregiver is on duty the rest of the time. The center provides an environment that includes programs and companionship.
The center’s staff oversees a variety of activities specially designed to meet the physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs of adults. Its main eligibility requirement is for the adult to be able to function in a supervised environment within a structured program. Staffing ratio is about 1 to 6.
The center also provides instructions and encouragement for the caregiver, who must take the patient home at the end of the day.
ADULT HEALTH DAY CARE
This type offers intensive health, therapeutic and social services for individuals with serious medical conditions, dementia or memory loss, and those at risk of requiring nursing home care.
Adult health day care is a supervised daytime program providing skilled nursing and rehabilitative therapy services in addition to personal care services.
Adult health day care services are appropriate for adults with medical or disabling conditions. It requires the intervention or services of a registered nurse or licensed rehabilitative therapist acting under the supervision of the client’s physician.
At social or health day care, the center’s staff oversees a variety of specially designed activities. They meet the social, emotional and intellectual needs of adults who might need companionship or those who might be physically challenged or coping with dementia or memory loss.
These activities can range from arts and crafts, discussion groups and light exercise to safe care for functionally impaired persons. It can include case management, individual counseling and health screening, and education for caregivers.
Special-needs people of any age need special help, and usually an elder-care attorney to sort through the many legal options. If you have a specific ailment, there might be a local or national support group available.
I’ve only scratched the surface about this topic. In a future writing, we’ll get into the financial aspect. An informational booklet available at some drug and grocery stores is the “Seniors BlueBook” that is a resource for aging well. Be ready to be shocked about the cost and complexity of choices. This is information you need to know, maybe not today, but most likely in the future.