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When is a Caregiver Necessary?

As older adults age, it is hard to come to terms with the feeling of loss when it comes to your independence. Sometimes you need to be willing to ask and receive help so that your daily life can continue to be fulfilling and enjoyable. By bringing a caregiver into your life, you won’t be losing your independence but will be taking proactive steps to keep your independence. A caregiver helping with daily or weekly routines will allow you to still live within your own home and continue to have independence with the support a caregiver can provide.  

Signs a Caregiver is Needed

Sometimes the signs are obvious when you or a family member need a caregiver. There are times, though, when you might miss the clues that you or a family member need help. Below are some common concerns that you or a family member should keep an eye out for. 

Signs to watch for:

    • Changes in mobility and ease of getting around the house
    • Needing help with medication
    • Forgetting about important bills or financial situations
    • Missing appointments or getting lost
    • Not being able to drive
    • Changes in appearance and personality
    • Trouble managing daily tasks

If you or your family member start to notice any of these signs then it is time to discuss finding someone to help. 

Choosing Between a Family Caregiver or a Hired Caregiver

Once you and your family have come to the realization that help is needed with daily or weekly tasks, you all need to decide between having a family member or a hired caregiver to come in and offer support. This choice may be a hard one to make but understanding that help is needed is the first step in the right direction. 

A Family Caregiver

One of the options for finding a caregiver would be to use someone in your family to help. This type of caregiver might be a faster way to acquire the help you need because you already know them. But, having a family member take care of you can impact their emotional, financial and physical health. It is a decision that needs to be thought through for you and the family member’s relationship.

Pros:
  • The family member already knows you and how your family communicates
  • Can immediately have help without the interview and hiring process
  • Allows elder adult to stay in the household and delays or prevents needing a nursing home 
Cons:
  • Family caregiver can start to feel isolated and will need a lot of support services to help feel successful in the role 
  • Caregiver can feel an emotional and physical toll with caregiving
  • Can be hard for family member to juggle caregiving and their own jobs
  • Financial consequences can be a reality for the family caregiver and can make it difficult to adequately care for their loved ones
  • Long-distances can make caregiving from a family member really difficult to navigate

A Hired Caregiver

Hiring a caregiver might seem like a bigger process to undertake, but can have great benefits in relieving stress on the family. Hiring a caregiver can offer a breath of fresh air because they will have more energy to provide care for you since it is their only job. Hiring a caregiver will offer a lot of different options for in-home support, but you will still need to make sure to have a support system while going through the process. 

Pros:
  • Allows family members to support the emotional wellness while a hired caregiver can take on the more physical and medical tasks
  • Hired caregivers can be specialized in certain medical tasks for you or your family member
  • You can be strategic about the different types of caregiving needs that you need to hire for
  • Can use an agency to help with hiring and managing of the caregiver
  • Allows elder adult to stay in the household and delays or prevents needing a nursing home
Cons:
  • Hard to allow help to happen from a stranger
  • Can be a financial strain on the family if they are not prepared to pay for a caregiver
  • Scheduling can be difficult

Supporting Loved Ones Through the Process

No matter the decision you and your family make, you all will need to be there to support one another through the transition. Make sure to have open communication with everyone involved so that no one is left out of the decision making process. Supporting each other through this transition will allow everyone to feel like the best decision is being made. Figuring out the right type of caregiver together will allow for the continued independence of you or your family member and better health longevity. 

Additional Resources

How to Assess if an Older Adult Needs Caregiving Help

How to Plan for and Communicate with a New Caregiver

Guide to Providing In-Home Care for a Loved One

Hiring an In-Home Caregiver – Private Home Care



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