Watching an elderly loved one’s condition deteriorate or seeing that a loved one needs additional support in the form of a caregiver can be overwhelming for family members who have their own responsibilities. This is one of the most common reasons why families will consider working with a home health aide. A home health aide can provide many different services to a loved one. For example, typical duties of a home health aide can include assisting with light housekeeping, escorting a loved one to medical and other appointments, and helping with dressing, grooming, bathing, and meal preparation. A home health aide might also help to remind a loved one to take his or her prescription or other medications.
Duties of a Home Health Aide
Many home health aides have significant training in order to manage their jobs and prefer to help individuals in this situation. In fact, many home health aides believe it is a calling for them to work in this particular capacity with individuals in need of care. It takes a lot of dedication and concern for others to work as a home health aide, which is something to keep in mind if investigating hiring a home health aide for a loved one. Choosing the right person can have a big impact on the loved one’s adjustment to someone else stepping in to provide assistance. The right fit can lead to the best possible outcome for everyone, so the process of finding and utilizing a home health aide is one that should be undertaken with care.
Why Consider Using a Home Health Aide
Many family members may initially try to step in and provide support for an elderly loved one who needs additional assistance. When a loved one’s necessary assistance is not to the level of requiring a nursing home care or an in-home nurse, then it may be challenging to figure out the next steps. This is one of the primary reasons to consider using a home health aide.
A home health aide can help to fill the gap and help a senior loved one maintain his or her general independence. As many individuals are living longer, and also living relatively healthier lives in retirement, it is increasingly important for home health aides to provide these vital support services. Family members who attempt to take on this role by themselves may easily become overwhelmed and frustrated. It can be challenging to keep up with the many responsibilities of caring for an elderly loved one in need of support while also maintaining a regular schedule. This is where a home health aide can step in to provide these additional services.
Since a home health aide provides more basic services than an around-the-clock care nurse or the kinds of services provided in a nursing home, family members may not immediately see the benefits of hiring an outsider. There is often a perception that these issues can be managed “within the family.” As many family members have seen, however, it can prove to be too much for one or a few family members struggling to juggle it all. Having an outside person step in to provide help can also provide the added benefit of further social interaction.
When a home health aide develops a relationship with the patient, not only are basic daily needs met, but this person will have a window into the elderly loved one’s habits. This can lead to a powerful relationship between the home health aide and other family members, which gives those family members a better understanding of the loved one’s needs. Hiring a home health aide does not mean that family members are not involved at all. Rather, it means that everyone can work together for the best interests of the loved one. A home health aide trained in providing care may notice needs and concerns that family members might have missed. Further, the aide will also provide a comprehensive care approach where family members are also involved and supportive, which is often better for the patient as well.
What Is the Difference Between Someone Receiving Around the Clock Care and A Live-In Home Health Aide?
A live-in home health aid will require a physical place for the aide to sleep as well as personal time during overnight hours and throughout the day. Getting 24 hours of care, however, means that the loved one will receive care throughout the day from two separate aides who would each have a 12-hour shift.
How Is a Home Health Aide Different from an RN or an LPN?
A home health aid is certified to assist with general daily living activities. An RN, also known as a registered nurse is licensed instead to assist with both activities of daily living and some skilled nursing services like handling injections or medication administration. A licensed practical nurse or LPN can also provide skilled nursing needs along with activities of daily living. A loved one in need of support from a home health aide would benefit when that loved one does not need advanced care beyond basic daily living activities and light housekeeping support.
Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Home Health Aide
Selecting a right home health aide can relieve a tremendous amount of stress for an elderly loved one and family members, so long as these common hiring mistakes are avoided.
Not Vetting the Agency or Caregiver Carefully
The process of hiring a home health aide can be overwhelming or even intimidating, particularly if a family member or a friend has already recommended a caregiver. Just because someone has recommended a caregiver, however, does not obligate family members to select that particular caregiver. Just because that relationship worked out for someone else, does not necessarily mean that it will work out for this particular situation.
Focusing in On One Element to The Exclusion of Others
In-home care or the cost of a home health aide can led many family members to panic, but there are three different elements to having a home health aide; the personality of the caregiver, the skills the caregiver brings to the table, and the financial cost associated with this. One of the most common mistakes that many family members fall into is looking only at one of these factors and not equally weighing all three. This is important when deciding to get a caregiver in the first place as well as selecting the right person to serve as a loved one’s caregiver.
Not Communicating Concerns with The Entire Family
If one person has taken the primary responsibility for caring for a loved one who now needs a home health aide, it can be beneficial to loop in siblings and other relevant family members on the interview process. This can help avoid challenging issues down the road and can help all siblings and relevant family members be on the same page about the duties that the home health aid should provide.
Not Staying Involved After the Home Health Aide Has Been Brought On
It is important to check in with an elderly loved one about how the relationship is going after the caregiver has started. A loved one may not feel entirely comfortable revealing all of the details of the arrangement if there are problems between the loved one and the caregiver. This is why it is important for all family members to continue the conversation after the caregiver has been hired and to ensure that this is the right fit for a loved over the long run.
Putting Off the Decision to Get a Home Health Aide
The biggest mistake that many people in this situation make is not reaching out to get a professional caregiver. There is plenty of evidence from many different research studies that getting a professional caregiver in the form of a home health aide can improve not just the day-to-day care, but also the psychological well-being of the patient as well as non-professional caregivers like family members. Studies published in the Journal of Aging and Health have found that many people seek professional caregivers to help alleviate the depression and stress associated with taking care of a loved one around the clock. A home health aide can ease a significant burden and give family members the peace of mind that a loved one is getting the support that he or she needs.
When nursing home or licensed nursing care is not needed by an elderly loved one, consider how a home health aide can come and step in to fill the gap with less significant care needs.
If a family member has already been providing the critical care services for a loved one who is in need of assistance, it might be tempting to think that this person can continue in this role forever. However, many family members find it overwhelming or even frustrating to continue providing the services over the long run. It can even cause the relationship between the loved one and the family member to deteriorate. Often, having an outside individual who provides home health aide services can close this gap and provide the essential care to the loved one. Contact Comfort Home Care for more information.