If you have just begun caring for an elderly parent at home, you may think you can handle everything yourself since you do not have a full-time job. However, caring for an older adult is a lot of work, especially once the novelty of having your parent at home settles in and your routine becomes more established. It really is to your advantage to hire an in-home care service, at least for one or two days per week. Here are some of the many ways you (and your parent) will benefit from going this route.
You'll avoid burnout.
Caregiver burnout is a real thing. It can happen to anyone who cares for an ailing family member -- even the strongest of the bunch! Caregiver burnout can result from role confusion, which is especially likely to happen when it's your parent who you're caring for. You probably saw your parent as your caregiver at one point, and having to care for them can be confusing -- even if you are able to rationalize why you must do so. High demands and the necessity to sacrifice your own wants and desires for those of your parent can also contribute to burnout.
You won't be able to do a good job of caring for yourself, let alone your parent, if you start experiencing burnout symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia. So, take the "prevention is best" route and let an in-home care service handle your parent's needs at least one or two days a week. This will give you some time to focus on yourself and maintain your own sense of independence, helping to reduce the risk of burnout.
The caregiver may notice things that you don't.
When you live with your parent, you don't always notice the small changes that happen over time. For instance, your parent's hearing may become worse and worse, but since the worsening happens so slowly, you don't pick up on it. An in-home caregiver who spends less time with your parent is more likely to notice these changes. The sooner the changes are recognized, the sooner your parent can get the treatment they need.
In-home caregivers are also usually nurses or certified nursing assistants. So, their more in-depth medical knowledge may allow them to spot problems that you may not have noticed as someone without medical expertise.
Your parent will have more companionship.
Companionship is important for humans at any age, and many older adults do not get enough social interaction. Surely, you're a great companion for your parent -- but you can't blame them for wanting more than one friend! Your in-home caregiver will be another person for them to chat with and interact with, and this will be good for their mental and emotional health. Your parent will be easier for you to get along with when they are getting your social needs met.
You'll have someone to discuss your parent's well-being with.
Sometimes, you just need to talk through your problems. You may be worried about your parent's new habit of putting their shirts on backwards, or concerned that their recent dislike of vegetables will impact their health. Having an in-home caregiver visit from time to time will give you someone to discuss your parent's problems and health with -- and it will be someone who can relate and who knows your parent. This brainstorming may help you come up with better solutions for your parents' struggles, and it will also allow you to get your worries off your chest.
Most in-home care services are willing to scale their services to meet patients' needs. So, even if you just want to have them visit once or twice a week so you can take a break, you and your parent can enjoy the benefits above.