An estimated 50 percent of family caregivers for seniors work full-time, and another 11 percent are employed part-time, the AARP Public Policy Institute reports. At the same time, according to surveys published by the Family Caregiver Alliance, 76 percent of caregivers do not pay for outside help with their family caregiving duties. This means that a majority of family caregivers are juggling work weeks, personal lives, and the care of their senior loved ones. So what’s the best way for caregivers to balance their responsibilities, care for their loved ones, and keep tabs on their stress? Adult day care and other professional care services are designed for this very purpose. By hiring outside services, you can better balance your work with your caregiving obligations and avoid caregiver burnout. Here are a few of the options available.
Adult Day Care Centers
These centers work in a very similar way to day care for children: You bring your loved one to the center before work and pick him up on your way home. During the day, he’ll participate in activities and therapy that’s designed to be both entertaining and helpful. Many of these facilities even offer trial periods to evaluate your loved one’s progress and status under their care.
Professional Home Care Providers
These are one-on-one alternatives for the daily care of bedridden older adults, those with severely limited mobility, those in areas without adult day care facilities, or for those who aren’t comfortable in group settings. Some home care providers are trained nursing professionals who can offer some medical care in addition to assistance with the necessary activities of daily living. Others have limited first aid training and are only responsible for basic care needs.
Other Care Providers
Your loved one’s neighbors, friends, or other family members may be willing to assist you with her care. While they may not be as dependable as professionals, they will often volunteer to help out or are happy to lend a hand if asked. Some families do pay such caregivers, especially when they’re not immediate family members. This can work particularly well for people on tight budgets, families who only need help a few days each week, or someone who needs help when he has a meeting or appointment.
It’s important that all caregivers avoid burning out — but the risks are even higher for caregivers who also work outside their homes. The responsibilities of maintaining a career in addition to caregiving duties can be overwhelming. Finding an adult day care center, professional home care help, or other care provider you trust can help minimize the stress and ensure your loved one is safe while you work.