Tips for Deciding When 24-Hour Home Care is Necessary

This week we invited guest blogger Linda Bright to discuss the signs that a parent might need more help than you alone can provide.

When I was in my 20’s, the idea of nursing homes and assisted living centers for my parents was nowhere on my radar. Mom and dad were busy enjoying their retirement years, traveling and playing golf every chance they got. Unfortunately within a few years, fate decided to step in and change things up a bit. It started with a devastating diagnosis for our mother; early onset Alzheimer’s which quickly claimed mom’s razor-sharp memory and her quirky personality, leaving us lost and grieving for the mother who raised us.

Her prognosis was as grim as expected and within months, my father had to step in as full-time caregiver. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse; it did and one night I got a phone call from distraught father that my mother had suffered a catastrophic stroke. Within weeks, I watched as the mother (who used to knit my winter mittens, cook ten course meals and go skydiving with my brothers) fade into someone I hardly recognized. Gone was her mischievous smile, her biting humor and her commanding soprano voice. Like a wilted rose, she had lost her blush and bloom, holding on to life by the most tenuous of threads. We had hoped she would have made it until the next Christmas, but we lost her after celebrating what would be her very last Thanksgiving.

So years later when my father started showing signs of dementia, my heart sunk into my stomach. Our experience with our mother was traumatic enough, and the thought of now watching my father slip into some similar decline was too awful to contemplate. Yet, when I noticed some worrisome traits, I began my own criteria for determining if dad needed home-care as well.

If you too might be worried about an elderly person’s welfare, then here a few tips that we have implemented to determine our needs within our own family.

  • Unexplained Bruising: If you notice that either parent has significant injuries and yet, can’t recall how they occurred, this might be a red flag. Slips and falls are among the most dangerous threats facing the elderly, it has been cited that among those the elderly population, 70% of accidental deaths are caused by falls.
  • Unpaid Bills: Another sign you might notice that an elderly parent might be struggling are piles of unopened mail, past-due accounts and collection notices. If your once-organized parent doesn’t seem to have a handle on their finances, this should be taken with grave concern.
  • Clutter in home/unkempt appearance: Is your once-fastidiously groomed parent suddenly wearing the same clothes, day after day. Do they seem unconcerned with the piles of clutter that normally would have been organized, sorted and put away? A messy home or a house that is in disrepair can also indicate underlying care issues that might need further investigation.

We were fortunate to hire a caregiver who has been able to stop by my father’s house and check his blood sugar levels, in addition to his well-being. At the moment, my father is still living on his own, and that is important for him, but my brothers and I have a rotating weekly schedule to stop in and make sure he is doing well.

Removing dad from his home would truly be a worst-case scenario, so we are being extra-vigilant to make sure he is cared for and can remain independent.

After all, my parents tended to our every needs growing up, providing a warm and loving environment, security and protection. Wouldn’t any of us want to do the same?

Linda Bright is a staff writer and a public relations coordinator for her experience as a former hospital administrator, she writes primarily about healthcare reform, patient rights and other issues related to the healthcare industry. In her free time, she enjoys Sudoku, spending time with her family, and playing with her poodle, Max.

Live-in Caregiver Jobs Do Not Require "Moving-in" with the Senior: Earn a Full Week's Pay in a Few Days

Live-in Caregivers are in demand and the job position will continue to grow as seniors choose to age-in-place in their own homes.  However, while "live-in caregiver' is a common senior care industry term, it can be confusing for everyone else to understand.  As more and more live-in senior caregivers will be needed, we thought we would share a few fast facts about live-in positions for professional senior caregivers.  You may apply for a professional caregiving job, including live-in positions, in your area, on Caregiverlist.

Live-in Caregiver FAQ's"

What is the job description for a live-in senior caregiver?  

Live-in senior caregivers assist seniors with all activities of daily living, including with meal preparation and clean-up, household tasks such as laundry, managing medical appointments and medication reminders in addition to basic caregiving duties.  Seniors with memory loss or who need assistance with mobility will often require full-time live-in caregiving services.  Learn about senior caregiver job duties for professional caregivers.

What schedule does a Live-in Caregiver work?

A live-in caregiver will go to a senior client's home in the morning to begin their shift and stay for a few days at a time, always working solid 24-hour blocks of time.  The caregiver does sleep at night and also receives a couple of hours of down-time each evening.  Most senior care companies rotate 2 professional senior caregivers, with one caregiver working Monday through Thursday, for example, and the second caregiver working Thursday through Monday morning.  Usually the caregiver team will fill-in for each other if one needs to change their schedule to accommodate personal needs.

What are the advantages of working as a Live-in Caregiver?

Caregivers who have been working in facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes often find that live-in caregiving delivers the advantage of managing care for one client and the added benefit of only needing to commute to the senior client's home once per week.  The elimination of multiple managers and co-workers can be welcoming to many.  In addition, the live-in caregiver has the additional rewards of being able to socialize with the senior and participate in activities which they may find enjoyable.  For instance, maybe a senior usually goes to lunch at a certain restaurant each week.  The live-in caregiver will accompany them and join in for lunch.  Sometimes there will be family functions and even trips which the caregiver will escort the senior on.  One live-in caregiver flew to Australia with their senior client for a family vacation.  Some live-in caregivers will drive the senior in the senior's car.  The benefit of sharing the senior's lifetime of wisdom and experiences can be both fun and fulfilling for the caregiver.

How much are Live-in Caregivers paid?

Live-in senior caregivers receive a daily stipend which usually is between $90 and $160 per day, with all payroll taxes and insurances paid for in addition to this (allowing professional senior caregivers to be able to collect Social Security benefits for their own retirement).  In addition, meals are provided for and additional activities required by the senior are also provided.  The caregiver will receive their own bedroom and usually be able to choose their own food for meals.  The caregiver may go grocery shopping with the senior or for the senior and have a separate budget for their own food.  Other times the caregiver will be able to order food through Peapod or another service or create the meal plan for the food they will prepare and share with the senior.  Usually a routine will be created for the senior and this will also include a schedule for meals.  Many times senior caregivers will take pride in sharing their cooking skills - everyone has at least one great meal they can prepare, right?  Or has a family recipe that everyone loves.  The caregiver can showcase their cooking skills to the senior and know they are being appreciated.  As the owner of a senior home care agency, I can share that oftentimes the live-in caregivers would both want to prepare their own Thanksgiving meal for the senior, separate from any family celebrations.  We would work with the caregivers to make sure their schedules would allow for this and the senior and caregiver would get to have 2 Thanksgivings or Christmas dinners.  This also provides a peek into how enjoyable live-in caregiving can be - - true relationships form as you share the retirement years with a senior.  In addition, many times seniors will live in homes that have a great view or offer other amenities that you may have seen on HGTV or in magazines but never experienced, from gardens to decks to pools to beautiful yards and you are able to enjoy this lifestyle while working as a live-in caregiver.

What training is required to work as a Live-in Caregiver?  Anyone with a caring personality and the availability to stay overnight at a senior's home can work as a live-in caregiver.  Training is provided for each client's care plan and sometimes the most important training required involves understanding medical requirements for a special diet or medication monitoring. Basic senior caregiving skills can be learned through a 10-hour online training course and most senior home care agencies will also provide their own customized training.

Apply for a live-in senior caregiving position in your area on Caregiverlist or refer-a-friend to a caregiving job for the chance to win $50.  Live-in caregiving services will continue to increase as the Baby Boomer population ages-in-place.  Build a caregiving resume and enjoy the experience of not only obtaining pay for assisting a senior but also receiving the fulfillment of making their senior years more enjoyable as they are able to stay in their home.



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