Sep 21, 2018 by Nancy Hmieleski, RN, BSN Director of Nursing
Cold and flu season is on the way, and that means you as a family caregiver are likely thinking of all of the preparations you need to do to keep your parent safe and healthy, and to prepare yourself to continue caring for them effectively even if illness does strike. There are many steps you can take to be better prepared for cold and flu season as a family caregiver, but one is educating yourself about respite care. Having an in-home senior care services provider as a part of your care approach for your senior is an extremely valuable way to help your parent to stay healthier. A home care provider can help your parent follow a germ control approach, help them keep their home clean and healthy, support eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated, and give medication reminders to keep them compliant with other health issues that could make your parent more vulnerable to illness. While this is very valuable, it may not be enough during cold and flu season. Respite care, however, can help.
Respite care is a way to give you a break from your care efforts, or to give you the time to manage other needs and responsibilities in your life. With this type of care, a care provider steps in on a temporary, or emergency, or urgent basis to manage your senior's care while you are not able to be with them. This care provider will follow through with your senior's schedule or routine as much as possible, and give them a high-quality level of care so they can stay healthy and safe, manage any emotional responses to you leaving, and still find fulfillment in their later years. The benefits of respite care can be available to your aging parent, and to you, for just a few hours in an afternoon so you can attend an activity or an event at your child's school, a short break during the day so you can take some time to yourself, or even for several days when you take that much-needed break for yourself and your partner.
When it comes to respite care during the cold and flu season, you should know this type of care can be a valuable first step in protecting your parent from potentially dangerous side effects of illnesses such as cold and the flu. Remember senior adults have immune systems that are far lower and less effective than those of younger adults. This means they are more vulnerable to catching an illness or infection, and have a much more difficult time fighting off such an illness or infection if it arises. Even an illness that seems minor to you can quickly worsen within your elderly parent, and leave them more severely ill, or even develop into a life-threatening infection such as pneumonia. If you feel ill, you are caring for sick children or a sick partner, or have been around a group of people who have recently become ill, you could pass these germs on to your elderly parent, which can develop into an illness. When this happens, having a respite care provider available means you can take a step back, focus on getting better, or nursing your family back to health, and still feel completely confident your senior is in the best hands.
Even if you are available to be with your parent on a daily basis, you should not discount the value and potential benefit of home care. An in-home senior care services provider can be a meaningful and valuable way to encourage a sense of independence and autonomy in your aging loved one. This way your loved one does not always have to rely on you to bring them places they want to go, or have to adjust your schedule in order to spend time with them, run errands with them, or attend other activities. Services such as safe and reliable transportation, physical support, and companionship from a care provider can all help your parent to manage the lifestyle they want on their own time, so they can enjoy a higher quality of life, and better mental and emotional well-being as they age.
If you or an elderly loved one are considering caregivers in Belvidere, NJ, or the surrounding areas, call the caring professionals at Comfort Keepers of Flemington, NJ. Call today (908) 806-2220.