Estimated 30 million families from all over are quietly caring for their seniors without funding from anyone. Finding ways to care within a budget of time and money. by francy Dickinson
Dear Francy; My parents are fighting my mother’s dementia. They are on a very small budget. Dad has Social Security and $250 in a small pension. Mother has only social security, which is half of dad’s. Dad is so afraid of the future. How can he keep giving her the care she needs, with no money for professionals to help him?
First he needs guidance. The best place to find it is through the Aging Department in their local social services. He needs to go with you and just visit the offices and get a case worker to talk to him. She will guide him to what the state can do and what the local agencies can do. You will be surprised at the many people who are trying to help elders with care. Doing this is never negative, it is real and you will have a good idea of the steps that will need to be taken as the time moves on.
Now, here are some ideas of how to help your parents:
- If they have a home that is paid in full they can go and get money from the government in a reverse loan. This will give them the house value cash and leave the home for your dad to live in until he is no longer able to do so without a monthly payment. Yes, some don’t like these loans but they are legal and using a company that you find with good BBB reviews on it, is the ticket. Then your dad would have money for a care giver occasionally. Always ask a professional their advice before you sign the papers, but get someone to come and talk to you about the process. You need to inform yourself as much as you can.
- If their home has an extra bedroom, they rent it out. But instead of money, the person will give care-giving time. This is perfect for a college or technical student. This means you need to set rules for the person using the room. They have to have reference letters or names to check and full list of duties has to be in print for them to sign. Kicking them out will happen if they over-step the agreed upon rules.
- This will give your dad a little free time, even a few hours a day. To get out of the house and let him calm down.
- He will hire a bath lady. That is a first step in any in-home care. These ladies are trained to be upbeat and caring and will do a bath in no time and have your mom powder fresh and back in her favorite chair with tea in her hand and a smile on her face. To me they are miracle workers.
- Next your dad will either get his own circle of friends or re-join one. He needs to go out once a week to have coffee with them, or play poker, or golf or whatever is his pleasure. He will either have a family member, his border, or a paid in home worker watch your mom. This will give your dad a mental release and time to vent to others.
- Keeping your dad well with trips to his doctor so his stress does not affect his heart. Keeping him well feed and involved in the family, not feeling alone.
- You read and you read about dementia…get your mom into a neurologist so she can get any meds that might help her. Then stop all other doctor visits, its pointless to keep her body healthy when her brain is dying. I know this is hard, but it is what has to be done. Get yourself on a dementia support group online. So you can vent and keep your mind as clear as you can.
- Ask your family to cover for your dad…make merry. Keep the visits and the home as upbeat as you can. Play calming music, use smiles and keep your mom in a bubble of safety.
- Feed your mother good food, with sugar treats throughout the day. Keeping the energy and sugar level high can help to keep her calm. Don’t be afraid to ask for sleeping pills for her so your dad can get a good sleep, too.
- Always ask for help; ask your doctors, your local faith center, your city services, your community center, your senior center, your welfare office. Do not be too proud to get help
Thank you, for all that you are doing…you are a caring person and if no one has told you lately…. You make a huge difference in this world…your parents are lucky to have you caring for them. Blessings francy