Benefits of a Private Caregiver
Updated on: September 2022
Happiness and well-being is something we all wish for ourselves and our loved ones. If life is becoming overwhelming and we are not able to keep up with life’s demands the way we used to, we may become frustrated and feel constantly overburdened. When this happens, we need to consider how to lighten the load and get some help. Even if it’s some extra assistance for the little things such as running errands or tidying up, or help with more demanding chores such as spring cleaning or raking the yard, a private caregiver may be the solution. What exactly is a private caregiver and what are the benefits of having a private caregiver? Private caregivers also referred to as private duty in-home caregivers, live-in caregivers, and private duty companions, are professionals who assist seniors in their everyday lives. Any senior who feels that they’re falling behind in their daily tasks or simply want to reduce the number of responsibilities on their to-do list may benefit from a private caregiver. If you’ve never considered hiring one of these professionals to help you or a loved one, the list of benefits may just change your mind. Explore the ways a private caregiver can improve your life or the life of someone you love.
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Private Caregivers Provide Non-Medical Support
Working with a private caregiver adds another dimension to a senior’s life. Seniors can often feel that their lives have been reduced to a series of medical appointments. Medical issues are important, there’s no denying it, but a singular focus on problems associated with the body can make life feel impersonal and limited. A private caregiver or family caregiver looks at the fine details of the whole person rather than the big-picture issues of the body. For many seniors, this kind of personal long-term care and attention paid to comfort and happiness provides welcome relief.
Most seniors know exactly who to turn to if they need medical care, even if it’s for something relatively small, like a cut that’s taking its time healing or an uncomfortable patch of dry skin. Doctors and nurses who specialize in elder care are often compassionate people who are happy to chat, but they’re also busy professionals with full schedules and a lot of patients to see. Their job is to get to the heart of the matter on specific medical issues. However, when it comes to the simpler things, many people have trouble asking for help. This isn’t an issue that’s limited to seniors. Anyone who’s suddenly finding themselves unable to perform their regular scope of personal care and life management duties might feel ashamed of this, regardless of age and regardless of what’s causing the change. But no one should feel embarrassed to ask for help when they need it and for seniors, private caregivers are the ideal people to ask.
This kind of help may seem small, especially for those who don’t currently need help taking care of basic tasks like going to the bathroom, bathing, cooking, running errands and cleaning the house. But for a senior who’s feeling overwhelmed by these everyday responsibilities, the help a private caregiver provides is life changing. Medical care is essential however clinical care doesn’t address the full spectrum of needs and assistance seniors can have. Private caregiving provides non-medical support and focuses on helping with the everyday demands of life.
Private Caregiving: A Link to The Life You’ve Always Known
Private caregivers can be seen as a stepping stone for seniors who are still independent enough to live at home and don’t require constant medical care but do need help with the logistics of maintaining a comfortable and healthy lifestyle. Indeed, a private caregiver can be the key to allowing you to stay in familiar surroundings and with the life you’ve always known. Many seniors note that aging is difficult because of how fast it seems to happen. One day you’re living a routine life in the home you’ve known for years and the next you’re unable to keep up with the daily life tasks you used to handle with no issue. No doubt, life sneaks up on us and, for some seniors, this can be an unpleasant process of discovering that all of a sudden, some things have to change.
Opting for private homemaker care rather than assisted living makes for a less dramatic and more comfortable lifestyle change, one that allows seniors to retain a sense of independence and stay put for a little while longer. If you’ve been living in your home for decades, chances are that space has a lot of happy memories for you. Being able to stay in a happy and pleasant environment like this just makes life better. If staying in a home you know you can afford and that feels comfortable for you is the best current option, then private caregivers can help.
Private caregivers can be seen as a stepping stone for seniors who are still independent enough to live at home and don’t require constant medical care but do need help with the logistics of maintaining a comfortable and healthy lifestyle.
Still, being emotionally comfortable and physically comfortable isn’t necessarily the same thing. Any tasks or obligations that are frustrating or physically challenging, such as mowing the lawn, dusting high shelves and changing heavy winter blankets for lightweight summer quilts, are the types of tasks private caregivers can help with. These kinds of tasks seem so simple when our bodies are in youthful shape, but many seniors come to realize that things just take longer and are more difficult as the years pass. That alone doesn’t mean that it’s time to give up your independence. It just means you need a little bit of assistance and a private caregiver can help with that.
Private Caregivers Allow a Renewed Sense of Freedom
Independence—the desire to maintain it, to hold on to it as long as possible—is a major concern for many seniors. Our minds may be as sharp as they once were, but our bodies often don’t cooperate as well as they did in the past. This often means that certain activities we used to enjoy aren’t so pleasant anymore. Whether it’s gardening, cooking, going to get new books from the library or doing little fix-it projects around the house, some seniors find that the things they used to do to entertain themselves are a little bit too difficult.
There are other reasons seniors can give up on activities they once enjoyed, including the fact that they simply don’t have the time or energy after taking care of day-to-day responsibilities. This is the stage in life where you planned to enjoy life and pursue your interests, but you might not have the energy to do so. The freedom to do what we want feels different through the lens of the aging. But a private caregiver can help restore some of your time and energy by taking over the tasks you find so draining or by helping you out as you pursue these activities.
For example, if you’re not up for making the walk to the library anymore, a properly qualified private caregiver can drive you. If you dread the idea of cleaning up after you bake your famous cookies, a private caregiver can do the dishes while you rest. Having this kind of personal assistance can re-open doors or even open new ones you hadn’t considered before. You may find that those old hobbies that used to suit your lifestyle are no longer that interesting, but that new things offer a lot of appeal. You may even be able to find a caregiver who shares some of your interests and can help out with specific things related to your hobbies such as purchasing specific flowers you’ve picked out for your garden and planting them near your favorite patio chair.
This may take some adjustment for some seniors, but many find that the adjustment period is shorter than they expected because they get such a useful benefit out of the caregiver’s assistance. The idea of personal freedom no longer means doing everything for yourself, but that is itself a relief for many people. Instead of sweating the small stuff, you can focus on the big picture things you enjoy. Getting new books to read isn’t about getting to and from the library anymore—it’s what you’ll discover when you’re there. Your caregiver can take care of the rest.
Private Caregiving Provides Relief for Friends and Family
Private caregivers provide help and relief for seniors and, in doing so, they also provide help and relief for the loved ones in those seniors’ lives. While most of us are happy to do everything we can for the people we love, even the most selflessly devoted daughter, husband, or neighbor may reach a point where they begin to feel burdened or burned out from the level of care and attention they’re providing to another person. This is a recognizable phenomenon known as caregiver fatigue and it can bring up serious feelings of guilt and resentment in the people who suffer from it. Self-care is important, but it’s hard to do nice things for yourself when you’re so selflessly focused on the care of another person. This issue is at the root of caregiver fatigue.
Private caregivers do this kind of selfless work for a living. It’s not something they have to take time out of their schedules to do—it makes up the bulk of their work lives. This isn’t to say that private caregivers don’t experience caregiver fatigue, but they experience it in the way all people do when they become a little frustrated with their jobs, and they can handle it in the same way too. A professional caregiver can take time off, go on a vacation and not worry about their clients’ care during that time. Families don’t really have this option. When your loved ones need help looking after themselves, your work is only done when you line someone up to provide care.
What this means is that family members and other loved ones need to think ahead while managing personal life care for the seniors in their lives. You may be eager to help your father run errands and get dressed for his club meetings, but doing this on a regular basis, even daily, will end up cutting into your schedule. If you have a full-time job and other family members to look after, you should think carefully about whether you might need someone else to step in and help dad so you can manage your own time more effectively. Private caregivers are in the business of providing this kind of help, so it’s not an inconvenience to turn to them for assistance in these cases.
This professional separation can also make it easier for seniors to reach out and seek help. For some people, the dynamics of the parent-child relationship never really goes away and the idea of being managed by one’s son or daughter can feel uncomfortable. The question of independence is important in this area as well. A private caregiver is a service professional, not a family member, so the parent-child authority balance isn’t in play. If the setup between the private caregiver and the client isn’t working out, seniors and their families can always hire someone else who might be a better fit. For better or worse, we don’t get to choose our families in this way.
Private Caregiving Provides Reliable, Helpful Companionship
Everyone has trouble asking for help sometimes, but it can be especially hard to ask for help when something is embarrassing or otherwise painful to admit. Private duty home caregivers are exactly the kind of people you can ask to help with these sorts of things. It’s their job to help out, and they’ll want to do what they can to make your life better, even if it’s something you don’t feel comfortable asking of friends or family members. Having someone you can trust to handle personal care tasks is a major benefit for some seniors, but that doesn’t mean that private caregivers are distant and cold. In fact, relationships between private caregivers and their clients are often warm and friendly. Because you’re working so closely together and because trust is so integral to the relationship, many seniors come to see long-term private caregivers as friends. As you spend time together, you’ll chat, learn about each other’s lives and form a bond. Private caregivers are usually younger than the seniors they serve, and they may be eager to hear interesting stories and sage wisdom from someone with more life experience.
This kind of personal connection is a major benefit of private homemaker care, particularly for seniors who are living in homes after spouses have passed away and children have flown the nest for different cities or states. Our social lives don’t always expand as we get older and while you may be active in your community, feeling lonely at home can hurt. This is normal, but it’s not something you just have to accept. Private caregivers provide valuable companionship in addition to their other helpful duties.
When you start looking for a private caregiver, keep this companionship element in mind. You’ll get the most benefit out of private caregiver services if you get along well with the person providing that care. At the very least, you want to feel safe and comfortable around your caregiver, but it’s OK to say that you simply don’t like spending time with a particular individual and to find someone else whose personality is a better fit for yours. We don’t lose who we are as we grow older. In fact, some of us become less likely to suffer fools. Luckily, there are plenty of caregivers out there who like the vivacity of the senior spirit. This is a profession that tends to attract people who genuinely enjoy spending time with seniors, who love the insights and wisdom offered by this age group. You could end up making as big an impact in your caregiver’s life as they do in yours.
To summarize, private caregivers are professionals otherwise known as private duty in-home caregivers, live-in caregivers, and private duty companions, who specialize in assisting seniors in their everyday lives.
The types of tasks private caregivers can assist with include:
- Running errands such as grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy, dry cleaner, post office, library etc.
- Cleaning (i.e. dusting furniture and shelves, vacuuming, scrubbing bathrooms, laundry, ironing, doing dishes etc.)
- Personal grooming and hygiene assistance
- Driving you to appointments
- General maintenance and yard work (i.e. changing light bulbs, mowing the lawn, snow shoveling etc.).
The overall benefits of having a private caregiver include:
- Assistance in completing daily chores and home-life responsibilities
- Reduces physical burden and risk of injury related to chores, domestic and maintenance work
- Allows one to stay in their own home and maintain the independent lifestyle they’re used to
- Increased personal time
- Reduces stress around completing daily duties and chores
- Freedom to engage in other activities such as hobbies, social and recreational clubs
- Relieves the burden on friends and family
- A source of reliable and helpful companionship