For the past two and a half years I have been a professional caregiver for a company called Comfort Keepers. I go to the houses, apartments, and memory care units that my clients call home and do whatever I can to help them stay where they want to be. Most of the time, a spouse or adult child has been the primary caregiver for that person and my presence is a big change for the family.
These family caregivers love their parents and are doing a wonderful job of providing care-though they often don’t feel like they are! The truth is, caring for another person is a huge job and no one can do it alone. More often than not, I meet a family when they are at a point when everyone in the care partnership is stressed out, tired out, and burned out. My first thought is often, “I wish you had called sooner!” But I have met enough families to know that asking for help is never easy, especially when it involves bringing a stranger into the home.
Asking for someone to come and spend a few hours with your loved one can make a huge impact. One gentleman I worked with was recovering from a major surgery and couldn’t move around very well. His daughter was very involved, but it was difficult for her to spend every night with her father since she worked full-time and had teenaged children at home. Her father and I spent the evenings visiting and listening to the big band music he loved when he was serving in WWII. We struck up a fast friendship and really enjoyed each other’s company. That simple act of spending time together brought so much joy to his life (and mine!) and it gave his daughter time with her own children.
If you are considering bringing in professional in-home care, here are twenty questions to ask to ensure that you are bringing a high-quality caregiver into your home.
http://comfortkeepers.com/office-546/information-center/20-questions-brochure. I have seen first hand how much it helps families to bring in some help, whether that help comes from me, or a neighbor, or a relative. Anyone can scrub the toilet or make the bed, so don’t be afraid to delegate those jobs to someone else. Outside help can bring relief from the day to day jobs of housekeeping, administering medicine, and going to frequent doctor’s appointments. Outside help can provide your loved one with more socialization and opportunities to stay engaged in life. But outside help will never replace the special bond you have with your parents or spouse. However, if you bring in even a little bit of outside help you will most likely find yourself with more time and energy for the activities you and your love one enjoy most.
submitted by: Amy Kirkeide, Comfort Keepers, Blaine, MN