Some people may prefer a family member or at least a close friend who they trust. Others prefer to have someone who they don’t have a personal connection with come in to provide care on a regular basis.
The team at Accredited Home Care knows that there’s no right or wrong answer: it’s really up to individual situations, preferences and who the client feels most comfortable with.
In some cases, however, there are ways to accommodate both, such as if a family member provides full-time care but a home health care nurse, therapist or aide comes in occasionally to offer more skilled services or supplemental tasks that a regular caregiver isn’t able to do, willing to do, or trained to do.
For instance, aides from Accredited Home Care can offer additional services beyond basic care if requested, such as transportation for errands, help in the store, help in the kitchen, or even basic cleaning and housework. Therapists can also provide everything from massage to finding ways to improve someone’s ability to get around the home easier and safer.
They even can provide respite care, which allows caregivers or family members to have a few hours for themselves, away from home. A trained aide or nurse will come by and sit with them for a few hours.
Trying to choose family or non-family may require putting together a pro-con list to help the decision. If there are more pros than cons, it could be a smart direction to consider.
Pros and cons of family
Family members as caregivers may present some advantages: they already know you and you already know them. Whether or not you like them all the time doesn’t matter: you still may trust them compared to letting “a stranger” in.
This could be generally useful because of a shared history. But this also has the possibility of causing old dynamics or old trauma to occasionally surface.
Family members also might offer to work for free, out of obligation. While definitely a deal for the person needing care, it could eventually lead to resentment since someone is essentially volunteering for a job that others get paid for.
Some states, however, have figured out ways to make this work, and offer the ability for family members to be paid as caregivers. In some cases, the payment might come from the government, especially if the person receiving care is a veteran or is receiving certain Medicare services. Or, a private arrangement can also be created between the caregiver and the client – but a contract is essential and perhaps even automatic payment deduction from a bank account so no one has to worry about regular payment.
This might be an option to consider for a family member who wants to help but isn’t sure of the financial commitment or is unable to give up a job to “work” for free.
Another consideration is skill: a family member may be able to offer companionship and general support but may not have advanced medical or nursing skills unless they’ve especially had training in these areas.
Some family members do learn the basics to assist with basic care and measure vital statistics such as blood pressure. And a first aid/CPR course also might be a good starting place.
A Professional provider
Someone more objective might be worth considering since some of the “cons” in the family category might work out great in this category.
A certified home healthcare professional may have had extensive training or professional certifications in this type of care, including what signs to look for, familiarity with common physical or mental conditions that may require care or experience with tasks like lifting and basic client safety.
Employees at Accredited Home Care have all received training in working closely with our clients, whether they are round-the-clock caregivers or have scheduled visits during the week.
They may not know all the family dynamics or have the trust, or at least the familiarity, that a family member has. But often, over time, a professional caregiver can become a friend and someone that the client and the family trust with their health.
Caregivers generally get paid, either through the client, through the government or from an insurance provider. They also may have more of a caring demeanor due to their training and personality but still can remain objective and clinical. Family members helping partially out of duty and obligation have the possibility of bringing more emotion into the equation. Perhaps they have some old grudges that occasionally resurface. They could get tired or anxious and not know how to manage their stress, unlike someone with more advanced training who knows what types of feeling they’re dealing with.
Overall, this discussion can be productive if you have it ahead of time, rather than a crisis situation where decisions have to be made quickly.