If you have a family member who needs care, your instinct may be to provide the care yourself rather than enlisting the assistance of a professional caregiver.
While that’s well-intentioned, adding a professional companion to your care team can decrease your stress, save hours of work, and enhance the quality time you have with your loved one. It can even prevent an injury.
Caregiving Is a Full-Time Job
When family caregivers provide care to an aging adult or adult with a disability, they spend 13 full days each month on tasks like grocery shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and giving medications[i],2. They spend an additional 6 full days per month assisting with feeding, dressing, grooming, walking, bathing, and toileting[ii].
An average of 13 hours per month go toward coordinating doctor visits, researching care, and handling insurance and medical bills2. When combined, caregiving tasks require more than 20 days out of every month on average. That’s the same as a full-time job.
It’s these same tasks that Angel Companions caregivers provide, giving family members much-needed respite time and filling in gaps in the caregiving schedule. By adding a companion caregiver to the team, families can save hours, decrease stress, and ensure the safety of the senior who needs assistance.
When Needs Become Too Much
When too many caregiving tasks are placed on the shoulders of family members, it can have real and damaging consequences, despite everyone’s best intentions.
The average caregiver for an adult is 49 years old[iii], and compared to their peers, caregivers have an increased likelihood of high blood pressure, chronic back and neck pain, and physical injuries that prevent them from doing usual activities2.
Research has found that the number of hours dedicated to caregiving increases with the age of the caregiver3, not necessarily the receiver. Often, a spouse or adult child of a loved one needing care starts out able to take on all tasks themselves, but as time goes by, they need help.
For these reasons and more, our Angel Companions professional caregivers receive training and ongoing education, so they are well-equipped to help with chair transfers, maintain a safe and healthy environment, and respond appropriately in the event of an emergency.
Relieving Guilt and Stress
Family caregivers often report that they do not have a choice about helping their loved one and that this lack of choice is self-imposed. Many say that it’s their “personal responsibility.” Some even feel pressure from the person receiving care1.
What our clients find, however, is that bringing in a professional caregiver decreases feelings of guilt. A caregiver is an important part of the care team – ensuring safety, companionship, and a set of eyes and ears when family can’t be there.
Personal companions also lighten the load, taking on tasks like meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, and grocery shopping. That way, when you’re with your aging loved one, you can enjoy quality time together.
Angel Companions supports families to ensure that both their loved one has all of their needs met – and the whole family enjoys a better quality of life. Would you like to talk about how to integrate respite care and other professional care services into your family member’s care plan? If so, contact us today.
[i] AARP and United Health Hospital Fund 2012 Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care
[ii] Gallup-Healthways 2011 Well-Being Index
[iii] National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP 2015 Caregiving in the U.S.