Elderly Care and Companionship: PSWs

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Elderly Care and Companionship

As the Baby Boomers age, their adult children are seeking ways to keep them as healthy and independent as possible. Studies show that seniors do far better when they’re able to remain in their own homes, yet many are unable to do so by themselves. Your elderly parent may need both care and companionship.
Here are some signs that your aging parent may benefit from having a caregiver/personal support worker:
  • Hospital stay. If the senior has recently been in hospital and has not fully recovered.
  • Hygiene. If the senior is unable to bathe or groom him/herself properly.
  • Housekeeping. If the senior’s home is unclean or in disarray.
  • Health. If physical health is declining, or if the senior is having difficulty taking medication properly.
  • Deficits. If the senior has short-term memory loss or hearing/vision impairment that interferes with daily functioning.
  • Nutrition. If the senior is not eating properly.
  • Loneliness. If the senior is unable to get out to social functions, or feels isolated.

What Your Parent Needs

Some self-assessment is useful before you contact a caregiver agency. What is it that prevents your parent from eating nutritious meals, for example? Is it because he or she is unwilling or unable to cook balanced meals, or is it because he/she finds it too difficult to shop for groceries? Is your parent isolated because there’s no way for him/her to get out to social events, or is it because hearing loss prevents him/her from joining in group activities? Most seniors will resist the idea that they need help, so prepare for some pushback from your mother and/or father; but rest assured that providing elderly parents with care to help them live a healthier life will preserve their independence and provide everyone in your family with greater peace of mind.

Choosing the Right Caregiver

Once you’ve got some idea of the ways in which a personal support worker might be able to help, call various caregiver agencies and ask them important questions. A good agency will send a medical professional to conduct an initial evaluation and make recommendations.
Top-notch agencies take great care when hiring personnel. Make sure that all caregivers are certified PSWs, with at least one year of experience in the field. Workers should be well-paid, insured, and carefully screened.
Many agencies offer limited types of support and little flexibility. Look for an agency that provides all types of support, as well as 24/7 care when needed. Choose an agency that allows PSWs to work in home, hospital, and nursing facilities. Remember that your family’s needs may change over time.
A big part of the caregiver’s job is to provide your parent with companionship, not just physical help. So pick an agency that places value on matching each senior with a PSW who is compatible. This may even include finding a caregiver who speaks your parent’s native language.
After a caregiver is assigned, the agency should follow up with regular assessments, making adjustments when necessary.
Provide your aging parent with the ability to continue to live independently – contact a living assistance agency today!
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