As an elderly loved one ages, making care decisions only seems to get harder and harder.
While companion care may be enough for a while, there comes a point in every senior’s life when overnight care is needed.
While companion care offers care with the activities of daily living (ADL) such as dressing, cooking, cleaning, and eating, overnight care is more comprehensive care designed to cater to seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or related conditions.
If you’re struggling with knowing when it’s time to trade in companion care for overnight care for your aging loved one, this post is for you. Read on to learn more.
The Emotional Implications of Hiring Overnight Care
Before we move on to discuss when is the appropriate time to hire overnight care, let’s first establish that many, many family members have an incredibly difficult time making this decision. It’s okay to find it difficult to accept the deteriorating health of a loved one, and many family members find themselves in a bit of denial about the fact that their loved one needs round-the-clock long-term care.
As painful as it is, this is a reality in many peoples’ lives, and addressing it by hiring the best-quality overnight care possible is the only way to provide for the health and wellbeing of an aging loved one.
What are the Benefits of Overnight Care?
Overnight care has many distinct benefits, both for the caregiver and the senior. Here are some of the top advantages overnight care has to offer:
a) Medical assistance at all hours of the day and night.
When a senior is suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, being alone at night can be dangerous. Alzheimer’s is well known to affect sleep patterns and it’s very common for affected individuals to get up and wander in the middle of the night. Without the care and supervision of a qualified attendant, a senior may wander out of the house and get lost or find themselves in a dangerous situation. Overnight care helps mitigate these risks and ensure that the senior is safe and well cared-for at all times.
b) A break for family caregivers.
More than 65 million people act as family caregivers in the U.S. alone, and these patient, kind, loving individuals cope with superhuman burdens nearly every day. In addition to the responsibility of caring for an aging loved one, these people often have young children and spouses to care for, as well. This creates a significant emotional, financial, and mental burden that contributes to caregiver stress and burnout. In many situations, it’s not uncommon for a family caregiver to be with an aging loved one every hour of the day that he or she isn’t working or caring for his or her family. Luckily, hiring overnight care can help decrease this burden a bit. By giving the family caregiver a way to step out of the care responsibilities without putting the senior at risk, overnight care offers a critical respite for stressed family caregivers who need small, regular breaks.
c) Medical assistance.
Overnight care providers are generally trained medical staff, which means they can assist with things like catheterization, medication administration, and other healthcare needs the senior may have. This helps ensure the senior’s safety and encourage appropriate treatment at all times.
7 Signs That it is Time to Hire Overnight Care
If you’ve noticed any of the following signs or symptoms in your senior loved one, it is time to hire overnight care:
1. Wandering off
If a senior is suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s and has started to wander off, it’s time to hire overnight care. Without it, these seniors may wander out of the house and find themselves in serious trouble late at night. An overnight care assistant can monitor and prevent this behavior to keep the senior safe.
2. Intense forgetfulness
If the senior has become increasingly forgetful and has begun to do things like leave doors open or stoves on, it’s time to hire overnight care. These forgetful behaviors pose a risk to the senior’s health, and overnight care is one of the best ways to ensure the senior stays safe.
3. Depressive thoughts or actions
Seniors have an increased risk of depression, and older people who feel intensely depressed may try to wound themselves. If you’ve noticed this tendency in your loved one, overnight care is a critical tactic that can help keep the senior safe and happy.
4. Medication neglect
If your loved one forgets to take his or her medications, hire overnight care to ensure they’re administered correctly. With certain drugs (like anti-seizure or blood pressure medications), forgetting to take them can have dire consequences. Luckily, an overnight care professional will be able to ensure that the senior adheres to a medication schedule.
5. Anger or uncharacteristic behavior
If your loved one has recently started to exhibit strange or atypical behavior, it may be time to hire overnight care. Because overnight caregivers can help seniors stay in a routine and remain safe in their homes, they’re a valuable form of assistance for elderly people who have started to behave differently than they used to.
6. Medical conditions that necessitate round-the-clock care
If your loved one has seizures or another medical condition that can be dangerous if left alone, overnight care can be lifesaving. By hiring someone to attend to the senior when you can’t, you get the benefits of peace of mind while also ensuring that the senior has the medical assistance he or she needs to cope with their condition.
7. When the senior needs help to get around
If your senior loved one has a difficult time walking or moving around the house, overnight care is a smart idea. This way, a senior can get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night while also maintaining his or her dignity and independence as much as possible.
The Case for Overnight Care
In the right setting, overnight care is a critical service that can overhaul a senior’s life as well as that of his or her family caregivers. Because overnight care steps in to fill a critical care gap where the family caregiver needs to sleep and the senior is often left alone, it’s a fantastic option for seniors who need a high level of care or who are suffering from cognitive impairment.
By hiring overnight care for a senior loved one, family members can put their minds at ease and shrug off some of the guilt that comes from not being able to accompany the senior through every moment of the day. Since overnight caregivers are highly trained and qualified attendants, they’re the ideal tool for helping to ensure a senior’s ongoing health, safety, and wellbeing.