Q&A: How do I become a care provider for my elderly relative?

Question by Astraea_13: How do I become a care provider for my elderly relative?
Okay, I’m in Texas and I live with elderly/disabled relatives. They’re getting on in years and I’d like to start looking into becoming some manner of caretaker for them. I already do all the domestic stuff anyway, so I want to know if I’m entitled to apply for some type of financial assistance from the government that won’t interfere with or come out of their Social Security checks.
We’re not well-off, and the older they get, the more I have to do for them. And the more I have to do for them, the less I’m able to leave home to work.. If you can at least point me to a website or tell me what office I need to go stand in line at, I’d truly appreciate it.

Best answer:

Answer by maxmom
That’s a tough situation.

I don’t think you will be able to get assistance for this. If that were the case, tons of people would have it since there are many caretakers for elderly relatives out there.

It might be better to hire someone (maybe an older person who is able but doesn’t necessarily need the money) or a high school age person to do some things for them, like run errands so you would be free to go to work.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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One thought on “Q&A: How do I become a care provider for my elderly relative?”

  1. Your relatives are fortunate to have your concern and you are wise to be asking questions about resources and options that are available to them and for you as a family caregiver.

    Being a family caregiver is a big job! This is true whether you are a “live with your your elderly relatives ” caregiver or whether you are caring from “long-distance.” The first step is to find resources that might help you and your relatives get answers now and to “keep caring” if your situation becomes more challenging.

    The first stop for information about resources that can help is your local Area Agency on Aging serving the county where you and your realtives live. These organizations know how to listen to seniors and their family members and can provide guidance and advice that may be of great help to you and you are caring for. You can call 1-800-677-1116 toll free to find out the phone number of the local Area Agency on Aging office. When you call the Area Agency office, ask for the person who provides “Information and Assistance” or “Help for Family Caregivers.” If you make this call, I am confident that you will find friendly and helpful people.

    It’s important to know that Area Agencies on Aging aren’t selling a particular service, “insurance plan” or other product. The information you’ll receive will come from people who talk to seniors and families every day and who will provide you objective information about options.

    When you talk with the folks at the Area Agency on Aging —you should ask about services that might be available to you as a family caregiver. Of course, ask about available in-home services that may be needed for your relatives now or in the future. These services are for the seniors’ benefit as well as for family caregivers like you. Area Agences on Aging also have information about other residential and nursing home options.

    Sometimes in-home services are available on a “cost share” basis and the costs of services are based on the seniors’ income or assets. If your relatives are very low income and have significant needs that puts them at risk of going to a nursing facility, you should ask the Area Agency on Aging folks if your state has something called a “Medicaid waiver.” If your state has a Medicaid program that covers individuals with disabilities and or frail elders, there may be Medicaid funding to pay toward in-home care. State governments are coming to realize the importance of having in-home services–with the involvement and support of family caregivers–as an option in the funding of services needed by frail older Americans.

    Finding a attorney who specializes in public benefit or family law might also be advisable. Your relatives, you and other family members will want to figure out arrangements for “powers of attorney” and have “living wills” in place –and throughly discussed — before an emergency arises. Your Area Agency on Aging would have information about these matters and would know how to connect you with professionals who specialize in this. Usually the Area Agency has “boiler plate” versions of these types of documents to get conversations in this sensitive area started. If your relatives are very low-income, the Area Agency may know of legal services that can help deal with these kinds of legal matters..

    If you call the Area Agency on Aging and like the help that you receive, let your county elected officials know and tell your members of Congress. Area Agencies don’t have big budgets–in fact appropriations for most services funded under the Older Americans Act have not increased significantly in 25 years! You will not be charged for the information you receive, however, any financial contribution you or your relatives might make for the time and assistance devoted to your situation would be very welcomed–and would go toward helping more of your older friends and neighbors and their caregivers.

    I hope this helps. Thanks for a great question and for caring! Best wishes and good luck to you and your family!

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