Is your parent or older loved one’s health declining, even with some in-home care? Are you or other family caregivers losing sleep at night or feeling overwhelmed? Whether your loved one lives in their own home or with a family member, it may be time to start full-time care—for everyone’s benefit.
Setting up 24/7 care can sound daunting to some families. But the alternatives are often worse—suffering a serious fall which leads to a rapid decline in health, fires or other safety issues caused by confusion or cognitive issues, or having to move to a facility. If you want to help your loved one continue to live safely where they’re most comfortable, here’s how you know it’s time to get more support from a professional caregiver.
10 Signs Your Loved One Needs 24/7 Care
- Frequent falls or compromised balance
- Confusion between day and nighttime
- Difficulty eating or drinking without assistance
- Fainting or confusion due to dehydration
- Wandering from home or getting lost
- An increase in bathroom accidents
- Sleepwalking or wandering during the night
- After surgery, a hospitalization, or stay in a rehab facility
- Bedbound and/or developing bedsores
- Family caregivers are suffering sleep deprivation or have chronic stress that interferes with their own health, wellness, and quality of life
How to Get Started with 24-Hour Care
It’s best to look to a licensed, bonded home care agency to fill any need for care for an aging parent or spouse, especially 24/7. Hiring a caregiver through an agency brings confidence, a greater sense of security, and built-in back-up caregivers, if needed.
While each state has its own regulations (California law, for example, does not permit live-in care), there are two ways to structure around-the-clock care:
- Live-in Care: One caregiver who works a full day, with breaks, followed by eight hours of rest in a private bedroom in the client’s home.
- 24/7 Care: Two caregivers working in 12-hour shifts or three caregivers working in 8-hour shifts. Unlike live-in care, the evening caregiver stays awake throughout the night to help with trips to the bathroom, changing briefs, medication reminders, and any other needs that arise.
Questions to Ask a Home Care Agency
- How many caregivers should I expect during a shift? How are shifts divided?
- Can I interview each of these caregivers? Can my parent or spouse meet with each caregiver to see if there’s a good fit?
- Will the same caregivers rotate throughout the week?
- What if someone can’t make their shift? How do you handle “fill-in” caregivers?
- Can family caregivers share duties with agency caregivers? How will we coordinate this?
- Who do I contact if there are problems?
- Are any of the agency caregivers Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)?
- Are there any tasks a caregiver is not permitted to perform?
- Will a supervisor visit my home? How often?
Why is an agency better than a private-hire caregiver for 24-hour care?
Some families prefer to hire a private caregiver to care for their loved ones.
While this might seem like a simple, straightforward option, it’s important to understand that working without agency support means you are responsible for scheduling—and finding backup support if a caregiver can’t make it to a shift. And, as a private employer, you’ll also be responsible for payroll, taxes, workman’s comp, and liability insurance.