Whether due to an illness, a debilitating injury or as a result of the aging process, elder adults often require assistance to meet their daily needs. Statistically, most assistance is provided by family caregivers, but there almost invariably comes a time when these caregivers may need to make room for outside help.
There are a number of reasons why hiring a caregiver makes sense. For example, the elder adult’s family could live in another state, or the family caregiver could work full-time and be unavailable for long periods during the day or night. Two of the main signs that it may be time to hire paid caregiving is when the demands of assisting an elder loved one become too great, or when the dynamic is no longer safe for the elder adult, or the family caregiver.
On average, family caregivers spend 24 hours a week providing care to an elder loved one, and nearly 45 hours a week when the family caregiver is the spouse of the care recipient. This can be an enormous burden, on top of other personal and professional priorities. It is no wonder that self-care is one of the biggest challenges for many dedicated family members who are caregivers.
Safety concerns are a two-way street. Specialized paid caregivers can provide services beyond the expertise of a well-meaning family member, and they can relieve mounting stress by virtue of taking over multiple daily activities. Consider these scenarios:
- Cooking, cleaning, shopping, and managing financial, medical, legal, insurance, and others needs can cause burnout and stress-related illness.
- Constantly lifting an elder loved one with mobility issues, such as from his or her bed to a wheelchair, could increase the risk of a back injury.
- Caring for an aging adult with advanced dementia may involve challenging behavior.
- Falling behind on laundry, dishes, and bathroom cleaning causes unsanitary conditions for vulnerable older adults.
Hiring a trusted outside caregiver can help reduce the pressure of trying to do too much. Perhaps, more importantly, it can increase the overall quality of care for an elder loved one and the caregiver. In many cases, both may even welcome the change. We know this can be a difficult conversation to have or to plan to manage financially. Do not hesitate to reach out to us to schedule a meeting to discuss your questions.