If you are reading this, you are likely serving a family member or other loved one as a caregiver, though that role is probably one you have no formal training for. As we discussed in an earlier blog post 2015 report created by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving showed that about 34.2 million Americans were providing care for no pay to an adult over the age of 50, and fewer than 20% of those individuals claimed a professional background in caregiving.
Undoubtedly, there are many of us caring for an aging parent, relative, or another family friend with no compensation and probably little to no support from others. Some provide this care out of a sense of duty or gratitude, but many family caregivers are still stressed out, burned out, and struggling to balance their own full lives with providing compassionate care. Have you considered the benefits of hiring a professional caregiver to complement and support the caregiving work you are doing today?
While it’s true that these highly skilled individuals can be brought in to entirely replace you as the caregiver, they can also be hired for as little as a couple of hours at a time just to help. For example, at MediQuest, our registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) can be scheduled for as few as two consecutive hours. We’re proud to offer flexibility for the benefit of our valuable clients.
Go ahead, take a break
With summer arriving, you likely have family events like weddings or vacations coming up that might require you to be away from home, and away from your caregiving responsibilities for several days or weeks. You don’t have to feel guilty. In fact, these times spent away from your duties may allow you much-needed relaxation so you can return to caregiving refreshed and recharged. While you’re out of town, let a professional be your stand-in! (You may even realize that the affordable and expert care your loved one receives in your absence could be useful in supporting you on a regular basis.)
Professional caregivers can also assist your loved one with attending special events themselves, whether you plan to be present or not. Was Mom invited to an important reunion that conflicts with your work trip? Do you want to be sure that Great Aunt Marge can attend your son’s wedding in August? Add a caregiver to the plan. The depth of services that professional caregivers offer may surprise you. Let’s take a closer look.
Activities of Daily Living
Typically provided by certified nursing assistants, help with so-called “activities of daily living” (or ADLs) is a primary function of professional caregivers. These activities include bathing, oral hygiene tasks like brushing and flossing teeth, dressing, eating, using the restroom, and mobility. Your loved one may not need assistance in all of these areas, but a trained caregiver will be ready to help, just in case.
Keep in mind that if your loved one is traveling to an event, they may suddenly require more assistance than they would in their usual home environment, as the locations of restrooms may be unfamiliar, for instance, or walking longer distances than usual might be required. Professional caregivers can also assist with preparation for events like running small errands or packing bags for your loved one to assure that they do not forget necessary personal items.
On the subject of walking specific distances, professional caregivers are specially trained to assist with ambulation. They are accustomed to providing walking assistance or can step in to push a wheelchair or unload a walker from a car trunk. It’s possible that your loved one will require an ambulatory aid they’re not used to using, such as a motorized scooter, if they’re traveling to a venue that requires too much walking for their level of mobility. Professional caregivers can help them get set up and assure that unfortunate accidents do not occur.
It’s likely that your loved one no longer drives, and they may not be able to dial a phone to call for a cab or have the mobility to travel to a bus stop and get necessary transportation. Professional caregivers with valid driver’s licenses and safe driving records are the norm in the industry, and they are ready to assist in transporting clients to and from special events. They also drive clients to appointments, as necessary, so if you’re out of town, there’s no need to reschedule critical medical exams or time-sensitive procedures.
Professional caregivers routinely provide assistance with medications. While only RNs and LPNs can administer medication and treatments as prescribed by a physician, CNAs offer the valuable service of offering reminders to their clients to take necessary medications on time. As you know, the routine disruption that comes along with traveling to an event, or simply having a regular caregiver not present, can cause forgetfulness. Assure that a life-sustaining medication is not accidentally missed by having a professional close by to help with remembering!
It is undeniable that a professional caregiver can be a great friend. Especially if your loved one is regularly prone to loneliness, the companionship that a caregiver can provide is priceless. Whether they are merely spending time chatting with their client, or they’re helping with light housekeeping and other household chores like laundry and meal preparation, a professional caregiver provides potentially life-extending services just by being there.
As we mentioned above, here at MediQuest, we offer flexible scheduling options to give our clients in Lancaster County, PA access to professional caregivers as little or as much as they require. If you’re planning family events this summer that may require caregiving assistance, get in touch right away to discuss your needs with us.