Does Your Loved One Need An Overnight Caregiver?

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

As your loved one ages, you might notice some changes in their mental and physical conditions. Do these changes make it challenging for them to live alone and care for themselves properly – especially at night? If so, they might just need an overnight caregiver.

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So, what’s next? How do you know your loved one needs overnight care?

Below are some signs that it’s time to provide your aging loved one with an overnight caregiver.

Signs Your Loved One May Need Overnight Caregivers

When you notice the following signs in your loved ones, it’s time to provide them with an overnight caregiver:

1. Increasing Anxiety

Your loved one might have been living alone for years without anxiety. If you notice your elderly loved one starting to get anxious and scared of living alone in an empty house, especially at night, it’s time to get them overnight care.

Signals of anxiety may include the loved ones worrying about eventualities such as escaping a house fire event or burglars breaking into the house.

With the companionship of a friendly and professional overnight caregiver, your loved ones will feel secure. If you fail to solve this anxiety early, your loved ones might eventually sink into depression.

Frequent nighttime toileting trips can easily lead to falls and injury and are an indicator that it may be time for an overnight caregiver.

2. Frequent Bathroom Visits During the Night

As people age, the number of runs to the bathroom during the night tends to increase. There are higher accident risks during these night visits as they might be walking while feeling dizzy or sleepy. Without a caregiver to clear the path and help them, they might stumble on objects or lose balance and fall.

If you notice your loved one visiting the bathroom more than three times per night, it’s a sign they need overnight care. Overnight caregivers can help them get there safely. Depending on the seniors’ age and physical and mental condition, overnight caregivers can help them even in the bathroom.

RELATED: Best Nightlights for the Elderly

3. Forgetting Medication or Self-Care Tasks

Forgetfulness tends to increase as people age. If your loved one is on medication, make sure they are taking it properly at the right time of day. If your loved ones tell you they forgot to take their daily night doses a few times, you should consider getting them overnight care. Such forgetful seniors can even forget other essential things like locking the doors at night.

An overnight caregiver will not only remind them to take their evening medication. Also, the caregiver will help in sorting dosages and counting medication supplements which might be challenging for a forgetful senior.

If the older adult has scheduled appointments with the doctor or the medications are running out, an overnight caregiver has ample time to remind them and see that they are prepared to go.

4. Behavioral Changes

Aging comes with certain changes in behaviors. Such behavioral changes may include staying awake for several hours deep in the night. This time of wakefulness needs hawkish attention, as seniors might end up wandering at night.

If your aging loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it might be best to consider an overnight caregiver. A professional overnight caregiver will provide nighttime vigilance that might be difficult for an inexperienced family member.

5. Frequent Illnesses

As people age, they become susceptible to falling ill. This means that there are high chances that a senior might fall sick at night when alone. Such a scenario can be risky, as the condition might be requiring urgent medical attention.

If you notice an increase in the frequency of illnesses, it’s high time to provide them with an overnight caregiver who can keep watch on them. A professional caregiver might even be familiar with some first aid procedures for some health emergencies. Also, the caregiver will call the medical specialists or an ambulance if necessary.

Duties Of An Overnight Caregiver

Below are some of the more common duties of overnight caregivers:

  • Socializing with the seniors and giving them company
  • Helping seniors with the daily activities
  • Reminding seniors on the various medical issues
  • Liaising with the medical team and the family members
senior with insomnia
Insomnia is common among seniors which could lead to unsafe roaming of the house at night necessitating an overnight caregiver.

Where To Hire Overnight Caregivers

After seeing the signs that your loved one needs an overnight caregiver, you might be wondering where you should go to hire an experienced caregiver. Below are a few tips on where to hire overnight caregivers.

1. Use An Agency

You can use an agency to hire an overnight caregiver regardless if your family qualifies for Medicare or not. An agency will provide detailed information about the overnight caregiver you want to hire. Also, the agency pays for the worker’s insurance cover, eliminating the need to buy a liability insurance cover for the caregiver.

Once you identify the agency you would like to use, you can contact them and arrange a consultation. The advantage of an agency is the wide range of overnight caregiver categories you can choose from, ranging from prescreened to experienced workers. Although the range is wide, the agency will choose a caregiver for you who might not mesh well with the senior.

2. Using A Registry

Some staffing services or medical registries help connect families in need of overnight caregivers with the corresponding health workers. Unlike the agency, you will tell the health care company the overnight caregiver, and they will connect you to the eligible candidates.

You will pay a certain one-time fee to the company, and other professional and financial relationships will be between you and the overnight caregiver. For professional overnight caregivers, you might have to pay refresher course fees periodically.

One of the advantages of using a registry is that you can get an overnight caregiver who shares personality traits or interests with your loved ones. The only issue is that you have to verify the caregiver’s credentials and do a background check on the caregiver. Also, you will be the one handling all the complaints about the overnight caregiver.

3. Personal Referrals

Hiring an overnight caregiver through a friend’s or relative recommendation has advantages and disadvantages similar to using a registry. The difference is that a referral doesn’t have any fees. With referrals, you will have more responsibilities on background checks and credential validation. Overnight caregivers from referrals offer better flexibility than when using an agency.

Although you might have confidence when a referral comes from your relative or a close friend, they might be wrong altogether on the experience and credentials of the caregiver.

More ideas can be found in my guide to how to find a live-in caregiver.

Quick Tips For Hiring An Overnight Caregiver

Below are tips to help you when hiring an overnight caregiver:

  • Do a thorough background screening using a criminal background check
  • Ensure the caregiver has a worker’s compensation insurance
  • Look for an overnight caregiver that shares personality traits and interests with the senior
  • In case your loved ones have underlying health issues, look for an overnight caregiver with matching qualifications
  • Validate the credentials and check the references of the overnight caregiver

Alternatives To Hiring An Overnight Caregiver

If you don’t want to hire an overnight carer to care for your loved ones, you can use the below alternatives.

1. Assisted Living Communities

Assisted Living Facilities are like homes to seniors. The cultural diversity in these facilities makes the experience pleasant, offering the comfort the seniors need.

Seniors get aid on daily living activities such as transportation, management, medications, eating, and personal hygiene. These facilities feature health facilities for emergencies, ensuring the health and safety of the seniors.

Here is my guide to moving your parents into assisted living if this option interests you.

2. Hospice Care

These facilities target seniors suffering from terminal illnesses. The seniors in these facilities may not even live more than six months, targeting more comfort than medical treatment.

The common medical services in these facilities are spiritual and emotional counseling, speech and physical, occupational therapy, therapies, and medications for pain reduction. Some hospice providers serve patients in their homes as well.

3. In-Home Care

In-home care is a service offered by professional caregivers. They visit the homes of the seniors in rotating shifts to ensure 24-hour constant monitoring and care. The in-home caregiver service providers are flexible to the needs of the recipient.

For instance, the visits can be once a week if the senior doesn’t require constant monitoring. The services offered by in-home caregivers include grooming, toileting, bathing, and transportation to senior centers or doctor’s appointments.

5. Adult Day Care

The goal of an adult daycare is to offer a safe place for seniors during weekdays. These facilities are ideal when family members are working and can’t be with the elderly person every minute. These facilities may include wellness and health activities such as musical entertainment, recreational activities, outings, art and crafts, and bingo.

Benefits Of Overnight Care

Below are some benefits of your loved ones having overnight care:

  • Provides a break for other family caregivers
  • Ensures medical assistance to the seniors
  • Reduces the overall cost of the elderly care program
  • It’s more reliable
  • Enhances communication between the family members and the senior

Final Thoughts

Over time, there will be mental and physical changes in your loved ones that will need improved care. An overnight caregiver can help in some daily activities such as eating, cleaning, cooking, and dressing.

Also, overnight caregivers help reduce the senior’s anxiety, give them companionship, and help them meet medication requirements. The above tips will help you understand when to hire overnight caregivers and where to hire them.

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