When is it time to hire an in-home caregiver?
Many people have a loved one who needs in-home health care — or may in the future. Getting informed about in-home caregiving options can help you navigate the responsibilities and rewards of this work whether you might be doing it yourself or hiring someone else.
What does an in-home caregiver do?
Anyone who cares for an ill or injured loved one at their home could be considered an in-home caregiver. But what are the benefits of a professional who’s paid to provide care in the home? Let’s take a look to see how an in-home caregiver may help maintain the patient’s health and well-being.
Caregivers — paid or not — can help a person manage things like activities of daily living (ADLs). These are activities someone typically does for themselves, like showering, getting dressed or eating. A person’s physical and mental health may affect their ability to do these tasks on their own. For example, someone living with dementia may need more support with their ADLs than an older person with simple mobility limitations.
Regardless of the level of support needed, in-home caregivers can help with many different ADLs and other needs, including:
- Dressing, bathing and keeping up with hygiene
- Grocery shopping and meal prep and/or cooking
- Managing medication and helping with medical equipment
- Coordinating doctor appointments
Home health care vs. personal care and companionship
If you’re providing in-home health care to a loved one, you may end up wearing many different hats to offer the full spectrum of care that’s needed (physical, mental, social and emotional). Certified in-home caregivers are people who have taken special courses to be trained in caregiving. They’re educated on things like patient rights, record keeping, vital signs, nutrition, risk management and more. They can help lighten the load and take on many daily tasks, like those ADLs.
It’s important to be honest with yourself when you may need a little extra help to avoid caregiver burnout. If you decide it’s time to consider hiring caregiving help, ask your loved one’s doctor for a recommendation on where to find certified in-home caregivers.
Is in-home care right for you?
The decision to provide in-home care to a friend or family member is personal and depends on your specific situation. If the person needing care can remain stable, safe and secure at home — and if you have the time and resources to provide that care — it could be a worthwhile option.
Before committing to being a caregiver, talk with friends and family members. Talk about preferences and expectations with the person you’d be caring for. Get the input of their medical team, and move forward in the way that works best given your circumstances.
If you decide to become an in-home caregiver, remember that there will be highs and lows, twists and turns, and unexpected bumps in the road. Take things day by day. Accept help when it’s offered, and take care of yourself so you have the fuel to navigate the road ahead.