Understanding The Roles Of Formal And Informal Caregivers
The Roles Of Formal And Informal Caregivers
are typically paid providers but they may also be volunteers from
a government or nonprofit organization. Where care is being provided
in the home there is often a mix of formal and informal care provided.
And the trend is towards using more formal care since, unlike
the past, more informal caregivers are employed. They choose
to remain employed but must juggle limited time between caregiving
and maintaining a household and a job.
responsibilities often make it necessary to hire non-medical home
care aides to provide supervision and help when the primary caregiver
cannot be present. Or as adult day services become more common,
caregivers may pay for this form of formal caregiving to get rest
or to allow for maintaining some employment.
is no longer possible in the home, then formal caregivers come
into play on a full-time basis. This may be in the form of a congregate
living arrangement, assisted living, a continuing care retirement
community or a nursing home. It is at this point that long term
care can have a significant impact on the finances of the care
recipient and a healthy spouse living at home.
are quite expensive and the cost for maintaining a spouse in such
a living arrangement may rob a healthy spouse at home of an adequate
standard of living. It\'s quite possible the healthy spouse may
end up with food stamps and subsidized housing where, before the
need for a care facility, this may not have been the case.
Or it is more
often the case that the couple recognizes this dilemma of splitting
living arrangements in two locations and an attempt will be made
to keep the spouse needing care at home as long as possible. This
may help with the finances but often results in destroying the
physical and emotional health of the caregiver by creating a situation
where the caregiver has difficulty coping with the responsibilities
and physical demands.
of providing informal care services in the home is the increasing
need for physical and emotional support that often goes unrecognized
until too late. As care needs increase, both in the number of
hours required and in the number or intensity of activities requiring
help, there is a greater need for the services of formal caregivers.
many informal caregivers become so focused on their task they
don\'t realize they are getting in over their heads and they have
reached the point where some or complete formal caregiving is
necessary. Or the informal caregiver may recognize the need for
paid, professional help but does not know where to get the money
to pay for it.
of the family should be aware of this burden and be prepared to
step in and help their loved one who is providing care recognize
the possibility of becoming overloaded. It is also the job of
a care manager or a financial adviser or an attorney to recognize
this need with the client caregiver and provide the necessary
counsel to protect the caregiver from overload. The advisor can
also likely find a source for paying for formal care that the
caregiver may not be aware of.
caregiver is likely to develop depression and/or physical ailments
and could end up needing long term care as well. The consequences
of not being able to cope with the burden of caregiving might
even result in an early death for the caregiver.
RN, BSN www.adhomehealthsolutions.com Connecticut Care Planning
Council Advisory Board