One of the hardest things that any family has to deal with is the life of an elderly relative. You spend your whole life looking up to the adult members of your family, only to watch your once healthy and fit grandparent sink into being infirm, or get knocked for six after an illness. Illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s are debilitating, degenerative and generally painful to experience from an outsider’s point of view. Deciding on the best course of action for someone that you love is not easy. Your instinct is to protect them by giving them the best care that you possibly can yourself. You want to take them into your home and take care of them, the same way that they have always taken care of you. The problem arises when you have your own family to look after alongside this, and when you have your own job and life to live at the same time.
You have to think about your emotional wellbeing as well as the pressure that it can put on you to care for a relative yourself. Emotionally, you can be very drained trying to divide your time between your children and your partner, as well as your job and your relative who is living with you. Stretching yourself too thin just means that you aren’t going to be any good to anyone, and you can forget to look after yourself while you are busy caring for everyone else. It’s not an easy decision to make, deciding on looking after a relative yourself, especially if you have no experience in caring for another person and their intimate care needs. You should never feel guilty for being unable to care for them. While they cared for you as a child, it doesn’t mean that you are expected to reciprocate in later life, and sometimes, it’s just not possible.
When caring for a relative becomes too much for you, you have three options in front of you. You can choose to research and visit care homes to match with your relative and see if they could thrive better in an environment whereby they had a secure place to live with round the clock care. You can choose to research home care agencies, who send fully qualified online RN BSN nurses to their home to care for them at different points in the day. The last option is to hire in a private caregiver for their needs around the home, making their care more individual. For a lot of families, a care home is too expensive an option. The weekly costs of their room, board and medical care can drain the finances, even if your relative has had money put aside for this very reason. A care home is also not always the friendliest of options when you are trying to make the decision to keep your relative’s independence as long as possible within their own home. Removing them from familiar surroundings that they may have spent their whole life in is difficult both on them and on you. You have to decide whether you want to put them through that type of trauma, which is why most people prefer the options of a home care agency or a private nurse.
A home care agency is a popular option in comparison to hiring someone privately. The legwork for finding the legitimate, referenced and background checked individual is very high and an agency will have done all this for you. Home care agencies are very careful in their screening for nurses, and they will consider everything from demeanour during a job interview to their background check when recommending candidates to you. With processes like that in place that are extremely strict, you can feel more assured that you are hiring in the right person to take care of your family member. It’s a personal thing to do, interviewing someone to come in from the outside. You want to be able to strike a balance with their independence and with the person coming in who is a relative stranger. You’re more likely to get someone with the right qualifications and experience tailored to what you need when you use an agency for your caregiver.
Private caregivers are typically self-employed and will have a number of clients. The one thing that they don’t have is the supervision and security that a home care agency will offer with their nurses. Someone who works for themselves is not strictly as stable as someone working for a company. They have no one to clock-in to except themselves, and if they have an emergency in their personal life there is no back up for your relative when they need personal care of medication to be administered. Home care agencies know where their caregivers are at all times, and they are closely monitoring their progress based on feedback from those that they visit. When you use a private caregiver, you don’t get that type of assurance. If you use an agency and your regular nurse is ill or has to attend an emergency, cover is made quickly so that your relative will not go without based on the issues from the usual nurse. The reassurance and continuity of care is a big deal and you can really see the benefits when the right care is given to your relative. With so many different care homes to choose from now a days, it’s quite hard to figure out which is the best. Making sure that all staff has been security checked is a good way to start, knowing that everyone has been checked by a trusted company such as Clear Check is a massive confidence booster.
It is not an easy decision to make. A lot of people choose to use just one individual private caregiver whose sole client is their relative. The problem there is the lack of coverage should things go wrong. There is nothing wrong with having a private caregiver, but you should always interview two and hire two instead of just one. That way, if things should need to be covered you have got that back-up as and when you require it. Caring for someone else is a vocation, and it is an admirable thing to do to take over and care for someone that you love. Not being able to isn’t something to feel guilty for, so take a breath and check out your choices.