The Benefits of Having a 24/7 Caregiver for an Elderly Loved One
Elderly adults commonly need care services for a wide variety of reasons. For one, they are generally less capable cognitively and physically, so they tend to need the support of young adults, especially when it comes to doing the activities of daily living (ADLs). For some elderly adults with more care needs (e.g. those with health conditions like arthritis or Alzheimer’s disease), an around-the-clock care service is even necessary. It is usually provided by a 24/7 caregiver whose job is to supervise and assist a patient at all times. Compared to an ordinary caregiver, a 24/7 caregiver is present around the clock.
Eleanor Gaccetta gives people a glimpse of what it is like to be a 24/7 caregiver in her book One Caregiver’s Journey. After her mother broke a hip at the age of 93, Gaccetta took it upon herself to provide care for her. For nine and a half years, Gaccetta served as her mother’s caregiver, assisting and fulfilling her needs all day and all night. The experience of being a 24/7 caregiver by Gaccetta shows just how tiring but oddly satisfying the job of being an around-the-clock caregiver is, both for the caregiver and the care recipient.
If you have an elderly loved one with some special care needs, then having a 24/7 caregiver may be the best option for you. Indeed, there are plenty of benefits that come with having a 24/7 caregiver. Here are the most important of these benefits:
Essential needs can be addressed anytime
Due to aging, elderly adults, especially those with health conditions, are generally less mobile and capable of doing many activities that require physical strength. For this reason, they may need the supervision and assistance of a younger adult at all times. This is the primary benefit of having a 24/7 caregiver for your elderly loved one.
Since a 24/7 caregiver attends to a patient all day and all night, you can be sure that the essential needs of your loved one can be addressed anytime. These needs include mobility, transportation, personal care (e.g. bathing, dressing, grooming), and nutrition (i.e., meal preparation that ensures proper nutrition for the patient). By having a 24/7 caregiver, you can be surer that your elderly loved one is receiving the best care that he or she needs.
Adequate medical attention can be provided
Illnesses and diseases are common among elderly adults. The most common health conditions that affect many old people include heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. These health conditions generally need consistency in terms of medication. People with these health conditions need to take their medicines regularly, without skip.
If you have an elderly loved one who is sick with a chronic disease, then having a 24/7 caregiver for that loved one is utterly recommended. Even though caregivers are not legally allowed to administer medications, they can give medication reminders or create a medication list to help maintain consistency in the medication of a patient. In addition, a caregiver can also make a report to see the progress or spot any issue when it comes to the medication of your loved one.
Constant companionship can be given
Aside from physical assistance, most elderly adults also tend to need emotional support from other people. According to some reports, depression is common among old people. In the United States alone, for example, late-life depression affects around six million Americans with age 65 and older. This kind of depression has various causes, but the most common of which are anxiety over financial problems or health issues, fear of death, recent bereavements, and feelings of isolation. To avoid its serious effects, elderly adults who are showing warning signs of late-life depression (e.g. sadness, loss of interest, weight loss, sleep disturbances, memory loss, and more) must seek professional help as soon as possible.
Aside from professional help, having a constant companion can also help prevent or reduce the effects of depression in an old person. Generally, companionship can have a positive impact on a person’s mood and overall wellbeing. Especially when it comes to elderly adults with special care needs, having a 24/7 caregiver who would serve as a constant companion to keep them stay busy and provide stimulating activities (e.g. games and movies) may be the best option. As shown by the experience of being a 24/7 caregiver by Gaccetta and all the other around-the-clock caregivers out there, the most beautiful thing that a caregiver gives to a care recipient is not his or her supervision nor assistance, but rather his or her companionship and love.