“The crisis has put a new lens on caregiving –– both the family members and the (professional) direct care workers –– and is showing us how invaluable their work is to our collective well-being.”
Editor’s note: This photo, taken before the need to wear personal protective equipment, illustrates ways caregivers help relieve loneliness, isolation and boredom for the seniors we care for in their homes.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, home health care agencies felt the public panic as some clients called to cancel appointments because they were concerned about being infected by an outside visitor.
We understood. These days, even though our caregivers wear masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles while serving clients, we realize now that it was fear of the unknown that prompted such concerns and cancellations.
But then after a while the telephone calls took on a new tone.
“I can’t do my laundry and I have no more clean clothes.“
“I need help managing my medications.“
“I am running out of food.“
“I am all alone and my family can’t come visit me.“
We echo the well-deserved recognition for doctors, nurses, and all the health care heroes fighting the relentless battle against the COVID-19 pandemic on the frontlines at our nation’s hospitals.
At the same time, on a daily basis, caregivers provide 12 million fragile seniors with the essential services that help them to live safely in their own homes, according to the National Association of Homecare and Hospice.
More than 9 out of 10 seniors have told a National Council on Aging survey that they prefer to live out their days at home for as long as possible.
Many of our clients literally cannot get out of bed in the morning without a caregiver to assist.
Caregivers help clients to get washed, dressed, and comb their hair.
Caregivers fix breakfast and prepare other nutritious meals for their clients.
Caregivers make sure clients take medicine as prescribed.
Caregivers wash, fold, and put away laundry for their clients.
Caregivers make the bed, tidy up around the house, and do the dishes.
Caregivers work to ensure a safe environment to protect seniors from falls caused by trip hazards.
Caregivers provide companionship and conversation to soothe loneliness and reduce isolation and boredom, which are common concerns among homebound seniors.
Caregivers play cards or board games with clients, or take them outside for walks.
Caregivers provide transportation to a favorite activity or for medical appointments.
The National Home Care and Hospice Association calls caregivers the “eyes and ears” who monitor and help sustain the health of their clients.
Caregivers may be the only people our clients see. Caregivers are often the lone source of human contact.
Normally our caregivers are the people who provide the loving hands-on care for homebound seniors, always there to give a hug when needed.
Today, even while protected behind masks, gowns, gloves, and goggles, just by being present, caregivers can brighten the day for lonely clients who need them.
Our caregivers provide the emotional support, caring conversation, and compassionate presence to meet the basic social needs our clients crave as human beings.
This is a very hard time for family members who can’t be with their loved ones. Families now rely on us more than ever.
In some cases anxious families from out of town are calling to request caregiver services because they can’t be there to visit or care for their mom or dad.
We understand their urgent concern and do the best we can to schedule a caregiver visit to the home on the same day.
For clients who need a higher level of care, our registered nurses perform regular checkups.
Fragile seniors with health issues such as diabetes, infections, and chronic conditions rely on the skilled nursing services we provide.
Our nurses have geriatric care experience for people who are 80, 90, or even 100 years old. Many of our clients have very little family or community service support for the health issues cared for by our nurses.
Nurses help clients manage their multiple medications.
Our nurses are not caring for the sickest people. But working together, our nurses and caregivers help clients stay healthier and out of the hospital in most cases.
Our caregivers and nurses work in home health care out of a sense of passion for helping people.
Our caregivers and nurses are taking care of the most vulnerable members of our society.