Dementia is one of the most common conditions affecting seniors in Canada. With the aging of the “Baby Boomer” generation, it’s expected that by 2031, 1.4 million Canadians will suffer from dementia. If a family member has been diagnosed with dementia, you may be worrying about what the future has in store. Medical professionals will be able to advise you regarding the various options available but no matter what you decide, you should consider engaging a Personal Support Worker (PSW). A PSW provides home care and companionship to seniors, allowing them – and their families – to experience a better quality of life.
Benefits of Hiring a Caregiver
Patients with dementia often have difficulty with “activities of daily living,” or ADLs in medical parlance. If your loved one is living at home, you may be providing help with these ADLs. Hiring a home care agency can lighten your workload, and may even provide a more comfortable experience for your spouse or parent. Sometimes having a professional home care agency look after the Care Recipeint’s personal hygiene, for example, is a great relief to family members who find that these duties can affect their previous relationship. A PSW is trained in ways to accomplish these tasks easily and efficiently.
Trained caregivers can help to organize medications, treat wounds, or help with recommended therapies such as pressure stockings. They can also offer housekeeping support, performing tasks like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and tidying. They can drive the client to medical appointments, or escort them out to socialize or shop.
Many agencies provide caregivers, but some of these perform only a limited range of functions in the home setting. Better home care agencies have PSW’s that will provide a wide variety of support and care to your family member in a number of different settings, 24/7. Keep in mind that your loved one’s needs will change over time, so when engaging a PSW it’s best to use a home care agency that offers maximum flexibility. A good caregiver will form a lasting bond with your family and will advocate for your loved one no matter where he or she is living.
Finding the Right PSW
Beware of agencies that send many different PSWs on a rotating basis, as this is unsettling for any Care Recipien and can cause great stress for dementia patients. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a home care agency that puts value on finding one compatible caregiver (and a regular backup) who will be a steady presence in your family’s life. This might include finding a PSW who speaks your loved one’s first language, for example, or one who has the same hobbies or interests. Better home care agencies allow you to interview several candidates and choose the one that’s right for your family.
Make sure that the home care agency you choose hires only caregivers who have completed Personal Support Worker training at a reputable college or learning institution, and that employees are carefully screened, insured, and well paid. A supervisor who is a Registered Nurse is also beneficial.
Finally, select an elderly care agency that does regular “check-ins” to ensure that your family member is receiving exactly the care that they need.
A diagnosis of dementia can be devastating for both the patient and family members, but finding good home care can help to make a challenging situation manageable.
Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care