Should I hire a Caregiver?

Deciding whether or not to hire a Caregiver is not an easy process. Unfortunately, guidance and information related to the caregiving field is not readily available in Trinidad & Tobago. Additionally, many families are unaware of the services available and the credibility of those who provide them.

Edgemore’s goal is to develop standards for the caregiving industry and provide families with all the tools necessary to make the best choice for their family. The following questions will help you decide whether or not you need a caregiver and what type of service might suit your family best.

Is my loved one’s healthy, safety, dignity or independence being compromised?

Senior citizens face a unique set of challenges that can sometimes be overlooked or misunderstood. Problems related to health can become more frequent and more critical later on in life; greater care must be taken to ensure that any health issues are managed properly. Caregivers are trained to manage many of the ailments that befall older persons, from osteoporosis to the many manifestations of dementia. Additionally, caregivers can assist in monitoring patients’ conditions and providing feedback to the family that might otherwise be overlooked.

The thought of a loved one falling and being unable to recover or seek help is frightening for any family. Concern for your loved one’s physical safety as they get older is natural and should never be taken for granted. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia bring about additional challenges and dangers to the lives of older persons. Reports of people leaving the home and forgetting where they are or how to get back are all too common. Unfortunately, there are elements of society that seek to take advantage of these situations, with incidents of strangers being allowed into the home or demanding money from a disoriented or confused Alzheimer’s patient. Family members may not always be available to oversee the day to day living of an older loved one. Caregivers can help in this regard by ensuring the safety of your loved, assisting them in decision making and avoiding dangerous activities.

Losing one’s sense of independence is an emotionally distressing aspect of ageing. The feeling of not being able to do the things you used to do or enjoy is one that many elderly people can relate to. Additionally, many older persons may feel apprehensive about other people taking control of their lives and managing the things they no longer can. Caregivers understand that their role is to facilitate the daily activities and routines of their patients, not to control them. Fitting into and maintaining the patient’s lifestyle is the primary focus of caregivers. Additionally, our caregivers ensure that patient dignity is always maintained and upheld. Many older persons may be embarrassed to ask for help, especially with activities such as showering or using the bathroom. Caregivers are trained to put patients at ease and appease any feelings of shame or embarrassment while assisting with their day to day activities.

Is my relationship with my loved one being strained?

Changes in a person’s self-efficacy, physical and mental health can lead to changes in their family dynamics that aren’t always desirable. When a family member adopts the role of primary caregiver their life changes and compromises need to be made. Most of us can act in this capacity out of love but no one is born knowing the intricacies and nuances of caregiving. Caregiving is a taxing job, both physically and emotionally, that requires the right tools and training for managing the stress associated with it. When family members transition into this role the potential for resentment is increased, with the person in care being seen as a burden. In our research, clients have expressed this sentiment and the negative impact it can have. From the patient perspective, an older person may themselves feel like a burden on the rest of their family and develop feelings of guilt.

One of Edgmore’s primary goals is to preserve healthy family dynamics and ensure that the aging process does not have adverse effects on family life. Caregivers possess the tools to effectively manage a wide range of situations and can make life easier for the family on the whole. Time with your loved one should be cherished and not seen as a chore or disruptive to your life.

Is my time or the time of other family members being compromised?

As mentioned, the physical health, mental health and well-being of your older loved one can never be taken for granted. Most people recognize this and put measures in place to facilitate a healthy maintenance of their loved one’s lifestyle. For example, family members often share in the responsibility of caring for a grandparent, creating general schedules and coordinating to ensure that all his/her needs are taken care of. This approach works but in many cases, even in large families with many available members, it isn’t always ideal. This is especially true when the older person in question has one or more ailments that affects their day to day life. In today’s society many people are already burdened with numerous commitments and taking on the responsibility of elder care can be massively stressful. Many people (understandably) underestimate the work that goes into caring for the elderly. Smaller families are at even greater risk for adverse effects as often the responsibility falls on one person. Individuals may find themselves having to drop certain commitments, compromising on the things they want to do and feeling like they have no time for themselves. In cases such as these, hiring a Caregiver can be a massive boon to the well-being of the entire family. One of our clients felt she suddenly, “had her life back” after hiring a caregiver, commenting that she no longer felt guilty or burdened about her own priorities.

Am I able to leave my loved one alone without feeling anxiety and/or guilt?

Feeling apprehension or anxiety about how your loved one is coping on their own is normal, especially when ailments are involved. Many people express fear about their family member falling or getting into potentially dangerous situations. While an incident may never occur, family members may not enjoy peace of mind if they are constantly thinking about what could happen. Ultimately, knowing that your loved one is in the hands of a trained professional can not only make your life more flexible but can allow you to ease your thoughts.

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