When a loved one has reached a certain age, everyday life may become a challenge. Family care may not always be an option which is why caregiving is available. Caregiving is a service meant to help care for the elderly or any person in need. The person in need of care may be an adult, often a parent or spouse, or a child with medical needs. Caregivers provide everyday life support such as shopping for food and cooking, cleaning the house, paying bills, administering medicine, helping the person bathe/dress, helping the person eat, and providing company and emotional support.


Who Needs Caregiving?

Caregiving is needed when a person cannot properly care for themselves, thus causing stress on everyday life activities. The elderly, mentally ill, and chronically ill fall into this category. Home Health Care and Assisted Living Facilities are two options available to someone who cannot care for themselves. For example, a person who lives with family and suffers from Alzheimer's disease can benefit from caregiving while the person's family is at work during the day. A person with Parkinson's disease may need help cooking, but does not need assistance in other daily activities. A person with a dual diagnosis, such as having diabetes and heart disease, may need help with administering medications and bathing. An elderly person with no family may need emotional support. These types of scenarios would typically mean a person can benefit from caregiving.

While the scenario list accompanies many types of treatment options, it is best for a patient to talk to their doctor to see what type of care is recommended for them. Every caregiving situation is unique and caregivers, whether family members or paid, often feel stress. Caregiving is a 24/7 position and caring for the chronically ill or mentally disabled, such as a person with Alzheimer's disease, can be especially difficult. It is important for the caregiver to periodically "check in" with themselves, care for themselves, or talk to someone who may be available to give assistance. Support groups for caregivers can help. It is important for any caregiver to ask for help and accept help.

Home Health Care

Home health care provides an at-home alternative to help you or your loved one stay home and enjoy the comfortable life they’re used to, all while getting the assistance they need. Click to learn more about home health care and how to select a qualified provider.

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Assisted Living

Assisted living programs can help a person who struggles to meet the needs and demands of daily routines. This long-term care option combines support services, health care, and housing. Click to learn more about assisted living and how to choose the best facility.

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Hospice and Palliative Care

Hospice and palliative care is provided to patients with terminal illnesses. It provides symptom and pain management, emotional support, and focuses on the patient's needs and wants at the end of their life. Click to learn more about hospice and palliative care programs.

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Why choose caregiving?

Many people who require long-term assistance would rather reside in their homes and with their family. They do not want to live in nursing homes or be admitted into assisted living communities. Usually family members do not have the time or cannot meet the needs of the person needing assistance. People who do not need round-the-clock care but still need help with daily activities are encouraged to choose caregiving.

Choosing a caregiver can be a difficult or stressful experience for a person or their family. What is meant to be a helpful act can be scary. Allowing a stranger into the home can be an unsettling idea and many questions are sure to arise. It is important for a person seeking caregiving to rely on doctor/hospital recommendations and have family members who can help them make a decision. The following questions are important to consider during the caregiver selection and hiring process.

Is the caregiver trustworthy? Collect and check references if you are thinking about hiring a private caregiver. A caregiver from an agency will have had all references checked, a background check, and driving record check.

Is the caregiver supervised? Any caregiver who is not meeting an agency's standard will be terminated. If you are considering hiring a private caregiver, it is important to have open communication, a pre-plan describing care, and an action plan if the care is not up to par.

Is the caregiver trained? Proper schooling and training is required of all caregivers from an agency. Individual caregivers may or may not have had formal training as a caregiver. Abuse can happen if the caregiver is not properly trained or supervised, which is why it is important to have a back up plan and check references.

If you choose to hire a caregiver from an agency, they will be insured and bonded for unforeseen circumstances such as injury to the patient while in the caregiver's care. An agency also has back up caregivers in case the primary caregiver becomes ill or goes on vacation. Individual caregivers may not have either of these, which is why it's important to cover all questions and concerns.


What are the types of caregiving?

Home Health Care provides in-home medical care which is authorized by the person's primary care doctor. Home care allows a person to stay in their home while receiving care. Care can be provided by a nurse, aide, housekeeper, or companion. Services include:

  • Personal care such as assistance with bathing, washing hair, going to the bathroom, or getting dressed
  • Homemaking, which includes house work, yard work, cleaning, and laundry
  • Cooking or having meals delivered
  • Health care, such as having an aide go to the person's home to assist with medical treatments.

There are many types of help a person can get while staying in their home for however long they need it. Some types of care, including volunteers/community service, are free of charge or donated to the person in need. Other types of care are charged, however, some government programs or health insurance will help cover the costs of certain services.

Assisted Living Care: Assisted living is a step ahead of caregiving. It combines housing with medical care (as needed). People in an assisted living program have access to 24/7 support for everyday help and are put on specialized individual plans.

Hospice Care: Hospice care focuses on terminally ill patients. Usually, a person can receive hospice care if they are expected to pass away within six months. Pain control, as well as spiritual and emotional support, are the core priorities that hospice care offers. The focus of hospice is to keep a dying person comfortable. Quality of life is the main issue addressed.

Palliative Care: Palliative care will help the patient control and prevent symptoms. Palliative care is not meant for the terminally ill, rather it focuses on patients with chronic illnesses who need help with pain control. The purpose of palliative care is to prolong a patient's life with the necessary treatment options for pain and symptom control. Palliative care is often administered to the patient while they are in a hospital or facility, such as nursing home or assisted living program.

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