It’s common for older adults to fear losing their independence as age-related issues such as mobility loss, balance problems, and other conditions occur. However, hiring a caregiver for in-home help can prolong your parent’s independence and improve their quality of life. Learn when it may be time to find a caregiver your parents and the benefits of getting them the help they need when it’s time.
Updated May 25, 2022
Are You Considering Hiring A Caregiver For In-Home Help?
Have you visited your mom or dad and noticed that several things seemed “off”? For example:
- Maybe the fridge was emptier than you’ve seen before or full of expired food.
- Perhaps you saw a concerning number of unpaid bills on the table.
- Or maybe there was an unusually excessive pile of dirty laundry or dishes.
- Most worryingly, maybe you noticed they hadn’t bathed in a while.
These are just a few signs that your parent might need help at home. If you’re familiar with this experience, you undoubtedly left their house thinking, “It’s time to hire a caregiver.”
While these signs are concerning, they don’t always mean it’s time to move your parents into an assisted living facility. Instead, consider hiring a professional to support your loved ones as they age in place. While it’s never easy to admit that your parents no longer can take care of themselves, hiring a caregiver for in-home help can go a long way to support their happiness.
12 Signs You Should Hire A Caregiver For In-Home Help
As your parents grow older, you may notice minor signs of their age catching up with them. For example, perhaps your mom once religiously cleaned the house but now struggles to keep up with everyday chores. Or maybe your father consistently forgets to turn off lights, the oven, or even pay bills. You should talk to your parents about hiring a caregiver for in-home help if they:
- Insist on driving despite getting lost in familiar areas.
- Previously paid bills on time but increasingly forget to do so.
- Neglect to schedule or fix basic household repairs.
- Forget to pick up the mail.
- Forget to take out the trash.
- Stop cooking, miss meals, or forget to throw away expired food.
- Neglect hygiene and grooming.
- Forget to take medications, miss doses, unintentionally overdose, or call you to ask which prescription they should take.
- Show a complete lack of interest in basic household chores.
- Fall more often, are unsteady on their feet, or struggle to use the stairs.
- Sleep excessively.
- Have less interest in visiting friends and family or a general reluctance to leave the house or run errands.
- Forget to turn off the stove or show inappropriate responses toward emergencies.
10 Benefits Of Hiring A Caregiver For In-Home Help
Hiring a caregiver for in-home help supports your parent’s independence and quality of life. Unfortunately, many seniors fear losing their independence due to age-related issues such as mobility loss, balance problems, and other health conditions. However, many qualified professionals can help your parent can live in the comfort and familiarity of home by assisting with a range of tasks such as:
- Cooking, meal preparation, and feeding
- Appointment and medication reminders
- Laundry, dishes, or other household tasks
- Transportation assistance and running errands
- Bathing, dressing, toileting, and other personal care
Additionally, some types of home health professionals provide medical care, such as:
- Wound care
- Monitoring vitals and health conditions
- Administering medications and injections
If you are the primary family caregiver or seldom receive outside support, having another person to help with tasks like those above – even for a few hours a week – will also boost your quality of life. So with that in mind, here are a few benefits of hiring a caregiver for in-home help.
1. Caregivers Provide Companionship
Companionship is an essential component of home care. According to the CDC, “For those without social connections, a doctor’s appointment or visit from a home health nurse may be one of the few face-to-face encounters they have.”
And as Kevin Watkins, co-owner of Caring Hearts of Rochester, a New York-based in-home care agency, told AgingCare.com, “Far too many elderly individuals in the United States live alone, and when they have trouble getting around, lose their driving privileges, or do not have family and friends nearby, it can make them feel even more isolated.”
Regular social interactions can minimize or prevent symptoms of depression and cognitive decline caused by social isolation. Furthermore, companion caregivers can help older adults enjoy more opportunities for engagement, such as:
- Having coffee
- Seeing movies
- Going on walks
- Listening to music
2. Caregivers Support Independence
Talking to your parents about giving up driving may be one of the most challenging conversations you can have with your parents. But if your parents’ driving poses a risk to themselves or others, you might not have a choice. Even still, giving up the keys can be devastating. The lack of consistent transportation can impact your parents’ routines, ability to run errands, attend religious services, see friends, and much more. In addition, it forces them to rely on other people for a ride, which reinforces feelings of helplessness or being a burden.
However, transportation assistance can minimize help your parent regularly get out of the house, which may ease some feelings of autonomy loss. It also ensures your parent attends scheduled health appointments, leading to better long-term health.
3. Caregivers Promote Dignity
Arthritis, Parkinson’s, and other health conditions can hinder peoples’ ability to independently perform activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, or toileting. Unfortunately, before the prevalence of home care, many would have likely moved to a nursing facility to receive assistance with these basic needs. But thanks to increased access to in-home services, more seniors can receive the same help in their homes.
Like driving, losing the ability to care for yourself is devastating. However, personal care assistance can significantly boost your parent’s dignity and support their self-confidence. Another benefit is that these professionals have the knowledge and training to complete these tasks without injury to themself or your loved one.
4. Caregivers Track Your Parents' Health
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a caregiver for in-home help is having a trained professional monitor your parents’ health from day to day. In addition, having a second pair of eyes makes it easier to track your loved ones’ physical, emotional, and cognitive health when you’re not there in person.
Home health professionals such as RNs and LPNs can provide insights into your parents’ health that you may not notice. They can also catch unusual changes or symptoms in your parent and help you address them before they develop further.
For example, suppose your mother’s weight frequently fluctuates. It’s normal for older adults’ weight to change over time, but too much or too little may be a reason to worry. A caregiver can help identify possible underlying causes, such as swallowing problems or gastric problems.
5. Caregivers Support Family Caregivers
Do you find yourself stretched too thin, struggling to keep up with your responsibilities, or needing respite care? Family caregivers often try to manage their loved one’s care alone. But gradually, the burden of caring for an aging parent and juggling work, school, home life, and more can lead to caregiver burnout. However, hiring a caregiver for in-home help can give you a much-needed break or administer specialized care that you may not know how to provide. Even if it’s for a few hours during the week or overnight, a caregiver can give you the time you need to catch up on other areas of your life.
6. Caregivers Help Improve Home Safety
A care coordinator or geriatric care manager can work with your family to improve your loved one’s safety at home. They can perform an initial home risk assessment to identify tripping hazards and other areas that pose a risk to your parent. In addition, your loved one’s caregiver can ensure your parent turns off the lights and oven, locks the doors, and takes other basic safety measures. Lastly, if your loved one does have an accident or emergency, the caregiver will be there to respond and provide care immediately.
7. Caregivers Offer Reassurance
Caregiving is emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing – even more so when you don’t have the training or background. Over time, you may question your ability to meet your loved one’s care needs. Many family caregivers feel like this, and you shouldn’t feel guilty because of it.
You might feel like you can’t meet your loved one’s needs or recognize that you simply can’t. Whatever your case, it’s okay. Most family caregivers work full-time, so not everyone has the time, energy, or resources to provide care.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your loved ones’ needs are met by you or someone else. What matters is that they get the support they need to protect their dignity and quality of life.
8. Caregivers Are More Affordable
For many families, the expense of long-term care only adds to their financial burden. For example, according to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the monthly median cost for a semi-private room is $7,908, while a private room is $9,034. But despite the steep expense, many facilities fall short in their ability to provide adequate care.
On the other hand, full-time (40 hours per week) homemaker and home health aide services are significantly lower, at $4,506 and $4,680 per month, respectively. In addition, studies show that seniors who receive home care after an injury or illness recover faster and have lower hospital readmission rates than those who move to a care facility. That doesn’t only mean substantial financial benefits for you and your loved one — it eliminates a heavy emotional burden, too.
9. Caregivers Promote Flexibility
Your loved one may only need help for a couple of hours each day or around-the-clock care. Either way, a professional caregiver can support you and your family whenever (and however) needed. Caregivers complete many tasks that would otherwise fall on you, leaving you with more time and flexibility. A home care agency can work with you and your loved one to find the right caregiver based on their needs, your schedule, and more.
10. Caregivers Provide Peace Of Mind
Ultimately, for these and many other reasons, hiring a caregiver for in-home help gives you peace of mind that your parents are cared for every day, even when you’re not there. In addition, worrying less about your parents’ safety and health lowers your stress and leaves you with more mental energy to focus on other parts of your life.
MeetCaregivers Makes Hiring A Caregiver For In-Home Help Easy
Hiring a caregiver for in-home help doesn’t only help your loved one — it gives you much-needed support, too. You can’t always be there for your loved one, so having someone else to step in and help can go a long way to ease some of your stress.
For more resources for caregivers and seniors, check out our blog.
- Basel, Dan Dan. “Why In-Home Care Is Better than Nursing Homes – Home Helpers Home Care.” Home Helpers® Home Care, https://tinyurl.com/5f9x4y4.
- Frederick, Will. “6 Benefits of Hiring an In-Home Caregiver for a Senior.” Home Care Assistance of Fort Worth, 18 Oct. 2018, https://tinyurl.com/kuzv7acs.
- Friedrich, Jennifer Luna. “Hiring an In-Home Caregiver: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You.” Caregiver.com, 8 Mar. 2021, https://tinyurl.com/5fydwppe.
- Kerrigan, Tennille. “5 Advantages of Having an In Home Caregiver.” Senior Home Care Services for the Elderly, https://tinyurl.com/3r7jdhzk.
- Teter, Michele. “5 Benefits of Hiring In-Home Care for an Elderly Parent.” AgingCare.com, 20 June 2017, https://tinyurl.com/ew2njuu5.
- Watson, Michael. “Why Hiring a Professional Caregiver Might Be Your Best Option.” Looking for Senior Home Care?, Caring Senior Service, 10 Sept. 2019, https://tinyurl.com/42phukt8.
- “What Is Home Care and How Much Does It Cost.” What Is Home Care and How Much Does It Cost?, https://tinyurl.com/chfu2mh8.