South Shore MA Senior Care News
In all too many cases, family caregivers wear their responsibility for taking care of elderly loved ones like badges of courage. Rather than choose to hire a reputable MA home care agency to provide care, they stretch themselves thin believing they have to do it all themselves.
Often, a spouse or adult child feels guilty if the responsibility for caring for a loved one is handed off to an outsider. They perceive their inability to perform this function as a sign to others that either it’s not a priority to them or they don’t care. As a result, many end up feeling guilty, getting burnt out or, perhaps worst of all, waiting too long to bring in much needed help.
When is it time to hire a home care agency?
Here are signs that indicate the time may be right:
1. The family caregiver is not readily available and the elderly loved one is starting to demand more help. Let’s face it. In today’s world, many adult children don’t live near their parents, or have heavy work/family demands that get in the way. That’s ok when mom or dad is safe living alone. It changes, however, when it becomes evident that the elderly person has slowed down to the point that he or she is no longer independent. Being able to connect through social media, or being able to text or phone chat no longer cuts it. There needs to be a physical presence, which you can’t provide.
2. A health-related incident occurs that changes the status quo. While people are certainly living longer, a health problem can occur virtually overnight with people in their 80s or 90s. Healthy, enjoying life and fiercely independent one day, that individual may suddenly need care, whether it’s on a temporary or permanent basis, following an illness or injury. In some cases, the needs for the elderly loved one may also be beyond the capabilities of the family caregiver, such as when the individual may have a condition that is progressive, or uncomfortable (such as when a daughter needs to help a father with his bathing and toileting).
3. The primary health provider, because of his or her own situation, is no longer able to provide that service. This role is very often assumed by a spouse, who lives in the same home. What if dad is caring for mom, and he suddenly gets sick? In many cases, as this individual is also likely to be elderly, there may be a sudden need to bring in some kind of relief help before the demands become too overwhelming.
4. Burnout is becoming increasingly obvious. Many family members find that caring for a spouse or parent can become all-consuming, costing them in terms of their physical and mental health. Sometimes, just a little help can make a big difference. Having a home care agency provide short-term respite care can enable the caregiver to re-charge her batteries for several hours a day, or to leave on a vacation.
5. The role of the family caregiver changes because of outside circumstances. Very often, an elderly parent may only demand minimal help from an adult child. This may constitute spending several hours a week doing laundry, helping out with errands, cooking meals, and/or providing companionship. Yet, because of family or work changes placed on the caregiver – after all, families move, split up, take on new responsibilities – someone else needs to pick up the slack.
“There’s no shame in asking for help,” according to Amy McDonnell, RN, BSN. McDonnell, who has been working in the Nursing field on the South Shore MA since 1993 and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Nursing Program, is the Director of Care for Cottage Caregivers, LLC. Cottage Caregivers provides home care in Marshfield, MA and many other towns in the South Shore.