Hiring a Caregiver Can Reduce Stress and Improve the Health of Elderly Parents

The National Alliance for Caregiving just released results of a national study among family caregivers who provide care to an individual with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or age-related mental confusion or forgetfulness. Among the notable results, more than 50 percent make the decision to enlist paid caregiver services. One of the biggest reasons according to the survey that families hire a caregiver is due to feeling highly stressed in caring for their loved one (61 percent).

Cerna Healthcare, a Home Care and Nursing Services company based in Irvine that specializes in services for the elderly with injuries and diseases of the brain, has found that enlisting a caregiver not only reduces stress among the family but also significantly improves the life of the care recipient.  Many studies have shown that people with cognitive impairments live longer and healthier lives while being cared for at home. As the baby boomer generation ages, now more than ever, you should know your options in caring for your loved one if they are facing forms of Dementia and age-related diseases.

Selecting the Right Provider:  For those considering hiring a caregiver, Nick Payzant, Chief Executive Officer of Cerna Healthcare, who manages needs assessments and guides families about caregiving, has the following recommendations for those searching for a Caregiving Provider:

Specialization is Key: Research if the Provider specializes and understands different diseases and the type of care needed (Dementia, Alzheimer’s). Caring for someone with a cognitive impairment requires special tasks. For example, as memory loss increases it is beneficial to establish a routine because it helps the senior feel calm and less agitated. Frequent memory exercises will bolster the memory. A company that can offer different levels of expertise will benefit families as needs change and grow.

Insurance is Important: While a family is often more concerned with the quality of care, taking note of the company’s operations such as if the Provider has workers compensation for its employees is important. A credible Provider will provide all of the necessary information and proof of paperwork upfront. Caregivers who must engage in physical activity such as assisting patients with moving around report higher incidents of back injury. If there is no insurance, the home owner is liable for the medical costs.

Employees Ensure Quality: Many agencies hire caregivers as independent contractors on an as-needed basis. This does not allow for the proper training and supervision by the Provider of caregivers. Inquire whether caregivers are W2 employees of the company and not contractors.

Create a Care Plan: Before the start of care, ask for a care plan that the company and caregivers are accountable to so that you can ensure goals are met and progress is documented.  This can consist of outlining the activities and duties for the caregiver, diet specifications of the patient and any other important information relative to the recipient’s care.

Home Visits are Vital: You should expect the company case manager to conduct home visits on a regular basis to receive feedback on the quality of care being provided.  A home visit consists of a meeting with both the patient and family members without the caregiver present.  Make sure you have ongoing communication with your Provider and the caregiver to ensure a successful partnership.

There are many resources in Orange County where families can find information and support including the Caregiver Resource Center (http://caregiveroc.org) and the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org/oc). To set up a consultation with Cerna Healthcare, visit www.cernahealth.com.

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