Our elders’ needs, combined with the lack of time that prevails today, can make us need a professional’s services to give us a hand, especially when the autonomy of the person in our care fails in fundamental aspects such as toileting, bathing, or feeding.
When an older adult or patient needs permanent or temporary health care, they usually meet with their family. Together, they discuss the possibilities of home health care available to them. Even an Alzheimer’s patient can continue to live at home until a very advanced disease stage.
In general, the most frequent possibilities discussed by the families involved in this process are: to start looking for a job with one or more nurses or independent caregivers or to hire senior home care services. Both possibilities have their advantages and disadvantages.
When this happens, how do we choose the right caregiver? Finding the right caregiver depends on several factors and requires a minimum of planning. Here are the requirements to keep in mind.
Before looking for senior home care services, it is advisable to review the person’s needs to be cared for, considering the abilities they still have, their degree of dependence, or personal aspects such as their character or values and preferences.
Senior home care services provide different types of services. Although companies offer their caregivers professional training, it never hurts to ask about their experience in the service you need. If you have a family member with diabetes, ask them about their experience with diabetes and ask for references. Then contact those references and, if possible, talk to people who have had direct contact with the caregiver candidate. If he or she has to cook, for example, ask what kind of cooking he or she prefers to do and if he or she knows what type of food a patient with your family member’s or loved one’s condition should avoid.
It also makes a difference whether the caregiver will only have to keep the patient company for the time being and take care of basic tasks such as cleaning or cooking, whether we need someone physically strong who can move and lift the patient, or whether we need someone who specializes in dealing with people with dementia, who can understand and solve the problems involved.
Although health-related issues are usually taken care of separately, when insulin administration or ongoing maintenance is required, a nurse’s services may also be needed.
A good caregiver should be physically fit and have a solid physical constitution. Patients cared for by caregivers are often too frail to do everyday things for themselves, so the caregiver must have the physical strength or stamina to help when it is time to bathe or if the patient needs to move from one room to another.
Many studies look at the caregiver’s influence on the patient’s psychological state, especially in cases of dementia. The patient’s improving or worsening health condition significantly impacts the caregiver’s physical and mental health.
As humans, it is tough for caregivers not to be emotionally affected by their patients. It is natural for a caregiver to form a legitimate bond with their patient, which helps them perform their job better. However, this bond could be a drawback, especially if the patient is suffering from a severe illness or is dying. The caregiver needs to remain emotionally stable despite feeling upset for the patient’s maximum benefit. Ask about his or her medical record and how he or she has handled patient loss cases in the past.
Another important aspect is to know the number of hours we need help, as well as the days of the week and whether we should include night surveillance (for example, in Alzheimer’s patients), in whole or in part, so that we can adjust them with the availability of the candidates.
The advantages of hiring a company that guarantees the professionalism of the future caregiver of our loved one are unquestionable. They can take care of all the health needs that arise and almost all the patient’s activities to continue to live like everyday life as possible.