Coming to terms with decreased independence, whether it’s due to the natural progression of age or a new medical condition or injury, can be difficult. You may be not be used to reaching out for help with everyday tasks such as grocery trips or household chores. You may be unsure about the intensity of care you need. Here is a simple roadmap to help you decide if you need the assistance of an in-home caregiver.
Honestly Evaluate Your Needs
As hard as it can be, it is essential that you take an inventory of your personal needs. As you get older, you may lose mobility and become unable to perform tasks that used to be easy. A professional caregiver can help with these tasks:
• Maintaining your home through light housework, answering the phone, and sorting the mail.
• Assisting you in completing your usual activities such as shopping, running errands, and visiting your doctor.
• Providing for your everyday needs by preparing meals and scheduling medication at the correct time. If you are no longer able to independently care for yourself, a caregiver can assist with bathing, toileting, and transferring as needed.
Some of these tasks can be performed by other professionals, such as household tasks being taken care of by a maid service. However, if you are in need of consistent care, or your condition is declining, now is the time to consider employing an in-home caregiver.
Communicate with Your Family
Family members can serve as part-time or temporary caregivers. You may already have family members who visit or live with you to help with transportation or yard work. Working with family members can provide a comfortable transition into a less-active lifestyle, but relatives are often not able to provide long-term care due to lack of training and experience.
Learn About Your Care Options
Many care agencies operate care centers such as nursing homes and retirement homes; however, those are far from your only options. At-home care is often more affordable, and much more comfortable, than care away from home.
If you have family members in your home during the day, you may only need a caregiver during a sleep shift. If you are no longer able to drive, you may want to consider hiring a caregiver for several hours a few days each week so you can go to the grocery store, doctor’s office, and pharmacy. If all of your family is far away and you have many medical needs, it may be worth it to look into a 24 hour, live-in caregiver.
Your options will vary according to your location, medical needs, mobility, and budget. Contact several care providers to get an idea of what you can expect the services to cover and cost. Many agencies employ a range of caregivers available for different amounts of time, and with different qualifications. For example, some caregivers are licensed to provide basic medical care, while others can help you remember to take your medication but cannot help with any more serious medical concerns.
Hiring a professional caregiver is a big decision, and it may seem like you are giving up on your independent life. But that is simply not the case. An in-home caregiver can allow you to maintain both your independence and current routines, without sacrificing your safety or comfort to do so.
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