Elena was exhausted. Ever since her father came home from the hospital after his heart surgery, she’d been tending to his every need to ensure he recovered fully. After a few weeks of providing him with around-the-clock care, Elena and her father decided it was okay to start leaving him on his own at night.
Elena thought that she’d feel better being able to sleep in her own bed, but her nights at home were spent tossing and turning, worrying about her dad. During the day, she was so tired that she became short and irritable with her family and her father, which she really wasn’t proud of. Finally, she decided it was time to look for overnight care for her dad so that she could look after herself and her father in a way that she felt good about.
Hiring overnight care can be a saving grace for family caregivers and for their aging loved ones. Not only will they receive the care they need and be safe in their homes through the night, family caregivers will get a much-needed break and be able to provide better care during the day if they need to.
Hiring help, however, can be a difficult decision to make. So, let’s take a look at some signs that your aging loved one needs overnight care and explore the various options for paying for overnight care so that you and your aging loved one can be happy, healthy, and safe.
Signs Your Aging Loved One May Need Overnight Care
As we saw with Elena, it’s all too easy for family caregivers to overwork themselves to the point of exhaustion. While we all want to do everything we can for our aging loved ones, it’s important to recognize that we can hardly give them the care they deserve when we’re running on empty. Finding overnight care is often the best solution and will help you keep your sanity as a family caregiver because it provides you with a mental and physical break from your caregiving duties.
So, how do you know for sure if your aging loved one needs full-time overnight care? Many family caregivers have trouble identifying the point that overnight care is necessary, often because it is difficult to come to terms with the deteriorating health of their aging relative. So, in hopes of helping you recognize your aging loved one’s need for overnight care, let’s look at some of the signs, symptoms, and situations that warrant a caregiver through the nights.
Your aging loved one is likely in need of professional overnight care if they:
- Are recovering from a major surgery or medical procedure.
- Have a medical condition that requires continuous monitoring.
- Suffer from Alzheimers or dementia and are prone to wandering off.
- Have a tendency to be forgetful to the point where it becomes dangerous (such as leaving the oven on or not locking the front door).
- Have a strict medication schedule that requires overnight administration.
- Have extremely limited mobility and aren’t able to get out of bed on their own.
- Are depressed or suicidal.
If one or more of the above apply to your loved one, understand that their needs exceed the care that a family member could provide. To keep your loved one safe in their home overnight, a professional caregiver, either a non-medical caregiver companion or a home health aide, is needed, depending on their condition.
The Cost of Overnight Care: Options for Aging Adults
Once you’ve determined that your aging loved one is in need of overnight care, it’s time to get real about the costs and consider your options. This is, unfortunately, another factor that can prevent families from hiring overnight help for their aging loved one.
Medi-Cal will cover some home healthcare costs for medically necessary services, so if your loved one requires a home health aide, some or all of the costs could be covered. For non-medical overnight care, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) does help cover costs if your loved one qualifies for Medicaid.
Without coverage, however, the cost of 10 to 12 hours of overnight care can range from $120 to $200, depending on what kind of care your aging loved one requires, which state you live in, and the qualifications and experience of the particular caregiver or agency. Typically, hours the caregiver spends awake will be expensed at their full-price (usually between $23 and $35 dollars per hour in California), with sleeping hours costing less.
Private home care workers are also a good option for those who are budget conscious, as they usually charge 20 to 30% less than agencies. If you do opt for a private caregiver, be sure to check their qualifications and insurance policy.
There are also some great non-profits that provide overnight care services. Institute on Aging, for instance, offers customizable home care, including the option of overnight assistance as part of their Home Care and Support Services program. Caregivers who are bonded, licensed, and insured are on call 24 hours a day, ready to support those in need of care whenever it’s needed.
At the end of the day, hiring overnight care can make a significant difference in your aging loved one’s quality of life and in the life of the family caregiver. Not only will it make it possible for your loved one to remain living comfortably and safely in their own home, it will allow you to look after your own well being so that you can truly show up for your loved one in a way that you feel good about. And thankfully, there are overnight care options available for most budgets so your loved one can get the care they need and deserve, regardless of their financial situation.
Institute on Aging offers a wide variety of services for older adult members of the community—including care management, financial services, social day programs, and more—so they can live independently and age with dignity.
For more information on our offerings, contact us today.