Helping Families Remain Families

“Helping families remain families”

Our tag line for Midnight Sun Home Care holds much meaning for us and it speaks directly to our mission of ensuring quality of life and providing peace of mind for our clients and their families. The idea of it becomes that much clearer when we break it down further to: helping husbands be husbands, wives be wives, partners be partners, daughters be daughters and sons be sons.

But, what does it really mean?

It means that we provide help in our clients’ homes; doing the tasks and providing the direct assistance that helps them remain independent in that home, for as long as possible. In doing so, we help to guarantee that their loved ones retain their proper, familial roles.

When I think about it, I believe that is one reason why my mother doesn’t want my siblings and me providing care for her—so we can just be her kids, certainly avoid being placed in the role of parenting our parent. She gets it.

My father, who we did provide care for, got it too. But I would guess that he figured he had it coming. He seemed to like having his kids wait on him, care for him and do the things he did for us for so many years. Yet, in doing so, we all were given a valuable gift. It brought us closer together in a way we hadn’t experienced and taught us to be more empathetic and tolerant of each other. I am forever grateful for that and I believe my father was wise enough to understand that.

I think our experience was a beautifully rare one. So often, being a family caregiver to a parent, a grandparent or a spouse is wrought with demands on time and resources that can make or break not only that relationship but also the family caregiver themselves.

Let’s look at some statistics on family caregivers:

  • Nearly one quarter of U.S. households are involved in the care of an elderly family member, spending an average of 20 hours per week in caregiving-related issues. In Alaska, it will jump to about one third!
  • 72% of caregivers are female: wives and daughters.
  • 65% are employed outside (in addition to) the caregiving role.
  • 90% of all women will be caregivers of children, parents or both.
  • Spousal caregivers who are experiencing caregiving related stress are more likely to develop chronic conditions than their non-caregiving counterparts.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t become a caregiver to a loved one? Of course not, but you should consider all the possible realities and the pros and cons. As you might imagine, the greatest threat to any caregiver, especially family caregivers, is not taking care of yourself. Our perception is that the best caregivers are those who put aside their own needs for those of the people they care for, but that is often at a hefty price. So please consider the following self-care rules:

  • Take responsibility.   You are responsible for your own personal well being.
  • Have realistic expectations:  “High expectations breed resentment.”
  • Focus on what you can do.  Be clear about what you can and cannot change.
  • Communicate effectively with others.  Don’t expect others to know what you need; no one can read your mind.
  • Learn from your emotions.  Listen to them.  Repressing or denying emotions decreases energy, causes irritability, depression and other physical problems—and impacts your judgment.
  • Get help when needed.  Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed or exhausted.  Reaching out for help is a sign of personal strength. Seek out support groups and respite support.
  • Set goals and work toward them.  Rather than trying to “do it all”; try to do just a few things each day and be proud of what you accomplish.
  • Talk to somebody – don’t hold it in. You are not alone!

Our experience tells us that getting in-home care assistance and or respite is certainly the way to go. If you plan to get help from an agency like Midnight Sun Home Care, consider the following questions to ask potential providers:

  • How long have you been providing services?
  • Can you provide references from both customers and other businesses?
  • Are you and your employees bonded and insured? Are you certified?
  • Are your care providers W-2 employees or contractors?
  • How do you screen your employees?  Do you do background checks? What types?
  • Is there staff available 24 hours a day?
  • Do you match employees with clients?  How?
  • If I am not happy with a particular caregiver, can I request a different one?
  • What happens when a caregiver can’t or doesn’t show up?  Are there substitutes?
  • How do you track your staff? Are you proactive in your oversight?
  • Are the caregivers ‘dispatched’ to clients or are they introduced?  Can I meet the employee prior to their first shift?
  • How much do you charge and how do you charge?

Getting this information will go a long way in helping you make a good decision and get the best fit for you and your loved one. Be sure to make use of the many valuable resources on our website. Our Senior Care University portal is a great place to educate yourself on most anything you need to know about providing care.

Whether you are a caregiver to a loved one; you bring help into the home; or you provide a mix of the two, make sure that you, your family and your loved one are in agreement. Get help where and when you need it and most of all, take care of yourself. This may be the most rewarding experience of your life. It was for me and continues to be, every day, as I lead our company in helping more and more families remain families!

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