There are all sorts of reasons people become caregivers, and they pretty much are all good ones. Some who provide in-home care in Santa Ana and elsewhere do it as a well-paying and satisfying job, some do it out of love or responsibility. Some do it because it feels like the right thing to do.
The team at Accredited Home Care also has different reasons for being there. Some like the home health aspect of providing care and aren’t interested in working somewhere like a doctor’s office or hospital. They also can spend a lot of time with a client, compared to some medical offices where you see someone when they need treatment and then never see them again.
This month is a good opportunity to recognize the importance of caregivers, whether they’re professionals who do it for a living or family members who take it upon themselves to offer caregiving assistance to a family member or close friend.
The third Friday in February, which is Feb. 19 this year, is National Caregivers Day. It’s an annual occasion to recognize the important roles that caregivers can play, whether it’s people who have received extensive training in medicine or nursing, or loved ones who don’t have any formal training but want to do their part to help.
Sometimes, this care can be prolonged and indefinite, such as someone with mobility problems or memory problems who needs someone there all the time for safety and security.
In other times, care may be only required for a certain amount of time, such as in a hospice situation. In these types of situations, the actual length of care may be shorter but the need for it – and the value of it—can be seen as more crucial. A client may need more assistance at the end of their life and may also appreciate having someone nearby.
Pros and cons of caregiving
Although caregiving can be emotionally satisfying, even rewarding, and can create some special bonds between the caregiver and client, it’s important to acknowledge that there are times when it isn’t very easy or very fun.
While there might be moments of kindness and appreciation, honesty requires that people be aware that there also could be some physical, mental, and emotional challenges.
Clients, who may not be feeling good physically or mentally, may not always be in good spirits. They may feel bad that their life now requires a caregiver.
They may turn their fear of the future or sadness about their current situation into anger, and the caregiver is usually the only one within reach.
People who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia may not be in control of their memories, their emotions, or their actions. A caregiver in these situations may be required to utilize other skills beyond providing companionship and basic care. Some security and safety concerns may be involved.
It also could feel overwhelming at times, especially for those who haven’t received a lot of training. Nursing and medical programs may teach methods to keep going or how to deal with stress when things start to get difficult, newcomers to caregiving may not know these skills.
Some caregivers may put their jobs and careers on hold or try to juggle their own family needs to help as a caregiver, so there could be some occasional resentment.
But at the same time, caregivers are providing a wonderful service and they should feel appreciated (even if they aren’t told this when a client is having a bad day.) They’re helping someone in a difficult situation keep going. They’re providing quality care at the end of someone’s life.
In a practical sense, they’re making it easy for a client to stay in their own home rather than moving to an assisted living situation. While these facilities do provide excellent care, most clients if given the choice, would prefer to stay in their own comfortable surroundings as long as they are able to.
It could also be a chance to spend some quality time together and for people’s relationships can grow stronger. A client will likely trust a family member as opposed to someone they don’t know to help with everything from grooming and mobility help to transportation and medication assistance. Family members can make medical appointments and make sure they get there. They can help cook meals as well.
Every family’s situation is different, of course, and there are a lot of resources available to help make the burden easy on some caregivers.
For instance, Accredited Home Care sometimes works with clients who also have a family member who is a 24-hour caregiver. Because we usually have more training, we can come in at scheduled times while the other person is there all the time.
We can also provide respite care, and let this caregiver have a break when we come to visit. This way everyone benefits.