Although it’s highly gratifying, caring for an aging or disabled loved one in Philadelphia brings a unique set of challenges as the weeks transition into months and even years. While battling physical, emotional, and mental fatigue, the average family caregiver must manage a household and job along with their caregiving responsibilities.
For some informal caregivers, there never seems to be enough hours in the day or energy “in the tank.” Whether new to the caregiving game or a seasoned veteran, read on to learn why respite care should be an essential part of your self-care program.
Caregiver Fatigue Warning Signs
No matter how healthy and fit they are, most family caregivers eventually feel overworked, overstressed, and overtired. There are days when it seems like no matter how hard you try, your loved one’s condition keeps getting worse. When that happens, the tendency is to try harder while investing more and more time into their care. If you’re not careful, those emotional ups and downs can lead to caregiver fatigue or even full-blown burnout.
Caregiver fatigue typically presents with these warning signs:
- Feeling mentally and physically drained all the time
- Sleeping not enough or too much
- Anxiety and depression
- Constantly feeling worried or overwhelmed
- Disinterest in activities once enjoyed
- Lack of exercise
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Substance abuse, including prescription meds
How Respite Care Can Help
Caring for an elderly, sick, or disabled family member can be a full-time job. Every so often, you’ll need to take some time off to tend to your own needs. Respite care is a commonly used term that describes a temporary break for caregivers. Those caregiving breaks can be as long or short as you need them to be, whether for a few hours, days, weeks, or longer.
Sources of Respite Care in Philadelphia
Once fatigue sets in, the health and well-being of all caregivers – and the care recipient – could be at risk. Long-time relationships can also suffer as patience grows thin and personality differences intensify.
Thankfully, staying recharged and refreshed as a caregiver is possible by utilizing these respite care resources:
For a fee, adult daycare centers cater to seniors by providing light assistance with normal, day-to-day activities like nutritious meals, elder-friendly transportation, and socialization. The level of care provided varies by center, as some adult daycare facilities even offer comprehensive medical and therapeutic services.
Many communities offer free programs and services that allow overworked family caregivers to take a break. A list of those can be found through the ARCH National Respite Network Locator. You can also access community respite care resources via the Family Care Navigator or your local chapter of the Agency on Aging.
Losing their driving privileges can deal a significant blow to your aging loved one’s freedom and independence – giving you one more thing to worry about. Thankfully, many larger communities offer public transportation and paratransit services for elderly riders at discounted rates. Setting up your senior with a ride-sharing service is another reliable way to cross one more thing off your caregiving “to-do” list.
Professional in-home respite care
Like other types of elder care, in-home respite care relies on the assistance of paid professionals who provide a wide range of personal care services to support aging or ill adults and their families. Respite care needs vary, from a few hours a day or week to 24-hour and live-in care.
Professional in-home respite caregivers are trained to provide these services:
- Light personal care, such as bathing and grooming
- Socialization, including conversation and companionship
- Food shopping, meal preparation, and cleanup
- Running errands
- Light housework
- Medication supervision
Choosing the Right Home Care Provider in Philadelphia
Once you’ve decided to hire a respite caregiver, here’s how to narrow down your home care agency search:
Ask for referrals.
Sometimes, knowing where to find home care companies is half the battle. Ask your friends, coworkers, neighbors, and relatives for referrals if you have never used an agency before. If you live in another part of the country, a quick Google search can pull up the names and contact information for home care companies in your community.
Research their services.
Initially, your loved one may only need a little help performing activities of daily living (ADLs), like bathing, dressing, or meal preparation. But if they were recently diagnosed with a serious illness or dementia, they may take specialized care to maintain an independent lifestyle and higher quality of life.
Look for a provider that offers a full menu of in-home services, including dementia and Alzheimer’s care, transportation, and 24-hour care. It’s also a good idea to ask if the agency requires ongoing staff training and if their caregivers are certified per state requirements.
Read their online reviews.
In addition to referrals from trusted sources, you’ll also need to research what others say about each provider. Online reviews from clients and their families reveal much about an agency’s reputation, as do testimonials from current and former employees.
Reputable home care companies also conduct drug tests and extensive background checks on their employees, including criminal and driving records. While you’re at it, check to see if the agency meets all federal and state certification requirements. Have they received any industry awards in recognition of their achievements?
Find out how much they charge.
Contrary to what you might believe, Medicare does not cover elective home care services like personal care or homemaker services. While your choice of an in-home care provider should not exclusively hinge on price, it will ultimately play a role. First, determine how much your loved one can afford based on their monthly budget.
In most cases, the cost of care relies on the number of hours the caregiver spends with their client, along with the type of services they provide. Before making your choice, research each company’s hourly rates, as well as how much they charge for daily and overnight visits.
Interview the caregivers yourself.
Once you’ve narrowed your provider search to two or three candidates, it’ll be time to progress to the interview phase. Schedule a screening interview for your loved one with each potential caregiver to ensure that their personality and work ethic align with yours.
During the interview, be sure to ask the supervisor for references from previous clients, along with proof of insurance and other certifications. This is also the perfect time to discuss your loved one’s care plan and how the agency would adapt to their changing needs.
Be sure to ask these additional questions:
- What’s your backup plan in the event of an emergency or illness?
- Will the primary caregiver be providing most of the care?
- How do you measure the competency and performance of your caregivers?
- How do you determine if a caregiver is a good fit for a client?
- Are your caregivers screened? How?
- Is a registered nurse (RN) or equivalent case manager available 24/7?
Personalized In-Home Respite Care for Families in Philadelphia
When you need time off from your caregiving duties, contact DignaCare in Philadelphia, and we’ll handle the rest. We are a fully licensed and insured home care provider with highly trained professionals who are experts at delivering the nurturing that your loved one deserves. While serving families in Montgomery County, our compassionate caregivers can perform duties like personal care, companionship care, meal preparation, errands and transportation, and light housekeeping.
Our agency’s focus is maintaining your loved one’s quality of life, as well as their dignity, self-esteem, and independence. For your added convenience, all our home care services can be individually personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them!