As we honor WHC’s caregivers on National Caregiving Day, we also remember those who provide the first line of care when needed: the family. Family caregivers are becoming more common, and the struggle is real.
In America today, there is a juggling act occurring within the Sandwich Generation of caregivers — the group defined as 24 million Americans who are juggling children, careers and caring for an older parent — and it is a juggling act that lasts for much longer than two hours (nextavenue.com).
We hear you: you want to continue to participate in the care of your elderly parents. Yet, as time goes on, there is often a need for assistance, from respite care to daily or even nighttime care for better rest.
How can a home care agency team up with family caregivers? How can it remove some of the stresses, offer emotional support, and enhance the lives of seniors?
Imagine this scenario: You and your spouse leave for work, and your elderly parent is left alone for the day. The senior parent is able to be alone for a while, but might forget to eat and take medications. Also, safety is becoming a bigger concern. You are able to provide breakfast and medication reminders before leaving. A professional caregiver arrives at 11 a.m., prepares lunch, offers companionship during lunchtime, and provides additional medication reminders. Light housekeeping, linen care, and preparation of the evening meal fill the afternoon hours. When needed, the caregiver provides transportation to doctors’ appointments and social outings.
Around 5 p.m., you arrive home and are able to hear helpful details from the caregiver pertaining to eating and rest patterns as well as health and/or memory concerns.
Here are some other ideas on how the use of professional in-home care can enhance the quality of life for both your aging parents and you:
- Scheduled weekday outings for the senior.
Keeping seniors active is a priority. You may choose to have a caregiver grocery shop with an aging parent or have a lunch outing 2 – 3 times each week. Emotionally, this provides needed one-on-one time, activity, and allows family caregivers to breathe easy when working.
- Nighttime rest.
Rest for the senior and for you is key to balancing caregiving with family and career. Caregivers often provide night time care only, offering you peace of mind and the opportunity to rest more deeply while ensuring seniors are attended to during these hours.
- Outings for the family caregiver(s) or respite care.
It may be that you and your spouse need planned times for dates and dinners, shopping, errands, household chores, and church. Caregivers from outside the home could be scheduled regularly to allow for these activities. For instance, two Friday nights per month and two Saturdays per month would be a great start.
- Supplemental care.
Between the care you provide and the care provided by other family members and friends, care needs may almost be covered. Home care services often begin with a need to fill in the gaps, covering times and events out of reach for family and friends.
- Emergency or unexpected care needs.
When an elderly parent is hospitalized, the stay in the hospital is typically longer and there are often concerns around leaving the person alone, especially at night. In addition, following hospital stays or surgeries, seniors may need additional care. Professional caregivers are well-versed in providing support to families during these times. These caregivers can be helpful in covering 12-hour nighttime shifts at the hospital, freeing the family up to return home for rest, and can also cover daytime hours for those needing to return to work.
The good news is that “home” care can now become “hospital” care, “nursing home” care, and “assisted living” care – meeting you when and where care is needed. And, most professional care can be scheduled to begin in 24 hours or less. Don’t tackle the juggling act alone, and remember that home care is not an all or nothing option. Reach out, get creative, and help bring balance back to your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Call Wiregrass HomeCare today, and let us offer the creative solutions you need to provide care that will improve your life and the life of the seniors you love!