When people think of long-term care, many assume they will have to move into a care home or an age-specific facility, and this fear of losing independence keeps people from receiving the help they need. What many people do not realize is that they can hire a caregiver to assist them in their own homes.
As older adults age they sometimes find that it is more difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle on their own. They may start neglecting personal hygiene, forgetting meals, or become unable to do once-simple things like cleaning up spills or clutter around their home. Issues like these only intensify and can eventually cause injury, malnourishment, and sickness without proper help. If this sounds familiar to you or someone you love, they may be in need of a caregiver. Beyond assisting with daily activities, a caregiver can fulfill the important need for socialization as older adults become more isolated.
In-home caregivers range from trained medical professionals, able to assist their charges with managing medications and vitals, to family members who have stepped up to the responsibility. Support can come in all forms and sometimes includes help with eating meals, bathing, exercising, or even just companionship. Depending on the situation, caregivers do not necessarily have to be a nurse or someone that is able to provide medical support. Home care helps give both you and your loved one peace of mind, knowing that someone can help with daily activities and chores.
Another benefit of using a caregiver to help your loved one is the one-on-one attention that they will be able to provide. While assisted living centers are beneficial in their own ways and can help your loved one stay social, they may not be able to provide the individual care your loved one needs. Home care can provide that. One-on-one personal attention gives your loved one the opportunity to interact with someone and give him or her company, attention, and conversation. Home care can also make your aging loved one feel more comfortable due to the familiarity of their surroundings. Moving to a nursing home may not provide that same homey emotional comfort.
When living in an assisted living center, tenants are given food that the facility plans out for every resident. If taken care of by an in-home caregiver, they are able to provide personalized food that is healthy and nutritional. A caregiver will also be able to pay attention to the amount of food that your loved one is eating and can make sure their diet adheres to nutritional guidelines. A caregiver can also oversee a daily exercise routine prescribed by a doctor and make sure that your loved one is staying strong and balanced while not risking an injury.
Depending on the independence level of the senior you may only need a caregiver a few days a week. If, however, you need a caregiver around the clock, there are agencies that provide that as well. Elderly people who live alone run the risk of injury with no one there to help, so sometimes, people use caregivers as a way to check in on parents who live out of state. An in-home caregiver can take them to and from doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, or the pharmacy.
The cost of in-home caregivers tends to be less than skilled nursing or assisted living facilities where you are not only paying for the staff usage, but also for the rent and food. Overall, the person receiving in-home care will have a more personalized routine, which can be a benefit to their mental and emotional health. Always make sure your caregiver is certified and be sure to use an accredited agency if a caregiver sounds like the appropriate option for your situation.
Max Gottlieb is the content manager for Senior Planning. Senior Planning provides free assistance to seniors or the disabled, specializing in long-term care. Senior Planning helps find and arrange in-home care services, transitions people into assisted living facilities, and aids seniors in their application process for state and federal benefits.