While it may be difficult to picture your family member needing 24-hour senior care in their home, it may be the best choice when it comes to maintaining a higher quality of life for them. To help you prepare for live-in elder care, Jamie Jackson, Regional Director for Griswold Home Care of Baltimore/Howard and Harford/Cecil, Maryland and Elizabeth Firth, Director of Home Care Services for Griswold Home Care of Bucks County, Pennsylvania recently drew from their experience working with live-in senior caregivers to provide insights. Both Jamie and Elizabeth offered their insights into what is needed from both caregivers and care recipients to prepare for having a caregiver in the home 24-7.
Preparing Care Recipients for 24-Hour In-Home Care
The first thing seniors should anticipate when it comes to live in senior care is what the service entails. Jamie Jackson explained that, “live-In caregivers often perform the duties of the home, typical of a family member, including homemaking, personal care assistance and companionship.”
This is where live-in care or overnight senior care differs from other types of elderly care; various services are provided whereas hourly or around-the-clock care is often more specialized. Elizabeth adds that live in care “is often the most consistent type of care in terms of one caregiver caring for the client the majority of the time.” In addition to preparing meals for seniors, doing laundry, and performing light housekeeping duties, Elizabeth mentioned that many caregivers “may assist with ADLs. They also provide safety supervision and may transport the clients to Dr’s appts, grocery shopping, and other errands.
The idea of gaining a “new family member” can feel overwhelming to anyone, but especially a formerly independent senior adult. Many care recipients usually have to warm up to the reality of having live in adult care in their home performing such personal tasks.
Jamie Jackson noted that if a senior has never had a live in caregiver, “it can take up to a month for them to get used to care.” It is important for all involved to be prepared for that transition period, and make it as smooth as possible. Little things like eating meals together can help build a positive relationship.
Preparing for a Caregiver
Federal law requires that if you have a live-in caregiver, you must provide a separate room for them free of charge. Typically, the care recipient and their family will not charge for housing or food.
When it comes to balancing a life of their own with their work caring for seniors, Jamie finds that some caregivers “request off to spend time with their own family and some work a week on – week off schedule.”
There are many 24-hour elder caregivers in the U.S. who come from another country and do not have local family obligations. Sometimes that can help lead to a deep relationship with care recipients. Jamie shares that often, these caregivers “become family to the seniors and spend the holidays with the senior.”
For those worried about an aging loved one who don’t have the ability to provide 24 hour home care themselves, knowing that there are loving professionals there to help carry the load can make all the difference.