Providing constant care and attention to an aging person is a rewarding feat, whether the caregiver is a family member or a professional. Caregivers of either of these two designations deserve accolades, since many courageously withstand the challenges of the caregiving role.
Family caregivers and professional ones are both similar and different in numerous ways. No matter whether the background of the caregiver is professional or family, those who support the vulnerable elderly during their time of need give their all to ensure the senior lives with dignity and well-being.
1. Similarities: Mission
Family caregivers aim to provide long-lasting support and relief to elderly loved ones. Their goal is to ease distress and encourage comfort. Despite juggling numerous responsibilities, like work and children, family caregivers manage their duties in order to provide the necessary care to a senior loved one.
Professional caregivers deeply believe in their role of providing compassionate service to seniors during their last few weeks, months or years of life. Given their dedication to the profession, many caregivers dutifully serve in the elder care field for many years.
2. Differences: Medical Skill
Unless they are licensed professionals, family caregivers are unlikely to know how to provide medical care. Changing wound dressings, for instance, may not be in the typical family caregiver’s repertoire of skill. However, family caregivers can learn care practices from hospital nurses before the senior is discharged.
Nurses and home health aides are skilled in providing certain types of medical care. Registered nurses possess the medical qualifications necessary to administer medications and take vital signs, for instance. Home health aides are trained to observe and record the senior’s mental and physical condition.
3. Similarities: Non-medical Care
Seniors who require non-medical care rely on caregivers for their transportation needs, help with meal preparation and assistance with the activities of daily living. Family caregivers who are willing to step in and provide care are able to competently manage the non-medical aspects of caregiving.
When family caregivers lack the time to provide care or live too far away, professional caregivers are up to the task of supporting seniors with non-medical care. These professionals drive care recipients to doctors’ appointments, play games to stimulate their minds and offer invaluable companionship.
4. Differences: Comfort with Care
Providing personal care may be uncomfortable for some family caregivers. Incontinence care, for instance, is an essential part of caregiving tasks in many cases but helping with personal hygiene can turn off family caregivers. Some family caregivers will simply not provide it.
Skilled in offering personal hygiene care, professional caregivers are discreet and respectful. Though it may be difficult, families who hire professional caregivers should discuss what types of personal hygiene support is essential for their loved one. Personal care is a part of a professional caregiver’s training.
5. Similarities: Constant Alert
Continuously monitoring an aging person’s health can be overwhelming. However, the demands of caregiving require the family caregiver be alert to the senior’s condition every moment of the day, especially if the care recipient suffers from a severely debilitating condition, like a stroke or Alzheimer’s disease.
Professional caregivers, too, keep a watchful eye on their senior care recipients during their shifts. Dementia care providers are trained to be continuously vigilant of seniors with progressive conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease. Custodial caregivers help with the activities of daily living throughout the day.
6. Differences: Respite
Relatives closest to an aging loved one may be too intertwined with care to seek out stress relief. Respite care is essential to a family caregiver’s well-being. However, many family caregivers feel pangs of guilt leaving their loved one even temporarily in the hands of another care provider.
Professional caregivers, too, experience the stress of continual caregiving. These professionals, however, go home at the end of their shift. They are able to detach from their caregiving role. Breaks like these are essential to allowing professional caregivers the ability refocus for the next shift.
7. Similarities: Reward
Caring for an aging spouse or parent can be an around-the-clock job, but family caregivers are rewarded with the emotional bond they nurture with the loved one throughout the caregiving process. Family caregivers get to know their loved ones in a new and appreciable way.
Developing bonds with their care recipients, professional caregivers also experience the joys of their role. The connection that results from ongoing caregiving is fulfilling to professional caregivers. Serving as compassionate companions to seniors in need, professional caregivers find continual career satisfaction.
8. Differences: Self-care
Thirty-five percent of family caregivers are so invested in caregiving that they fail to provide self-care. These individuals have limited time to socialize with friends, work or interact with other family members. The consequences of the lack of self-care are detrimental to the caregiver’s health.
Professional caregivers are also devoted to their work. Many professional caregivers avoid burnout by paying attention to their own needs and fulfilling them. Some dedicated caregivers even leave the senior care industry altogether after feeling professionally limited by their employer’s policies.
Assisting Hands Home Care
Shouldering the responsibilities of elder care can fall on the family caregiver, a professional caregiver or a combination of both. Respite care is a supportive service offered by Assisting Hands Home Care. Compassionate caregivers from our reputable home care agency are available to provide temporary relief to family caregivers. Our convenient respite care services are available for urgent care or may be scheduled in advance.
Assisting Hands Home Care also offers comprehensive elder care services. Our wide range of non-medical care services include help with the activities of daily living, transportation to accomplish errands or to visit the doctor, meal preparation and light housekeeping, among many others.