caregiver with male patient

A caregiver is a person who takes responsibility for someone who cannot fully care for him or herself. Whether they are family members or trained professionals, caregivers need to have a very special combination of traits, including patience, alertness, and dependability.

In an interview with our Action Products writer, Senior Helpers of Greenwood, Indiana Vice President of Operations, Dean Jones, explained the difference between in-home health care, and non-medical in-home care.

In-home health care involves a licensed nurse visiting patients in their home to check on medical status, monitor vital signs, care for wounds, and provide therapy. This type of health care is commonly offered for a limited period of time, typically for patients recently discharged from a hospital or rehabilitation facility, or for patients injured in an accident.  

In-home caregiving is typically offered over an extended period of time, and is non-medical, Jones adds. Seniors needing some assistance with everyday living activities, but who are not bedridden, can be helped with housekeeping tasks, meal preparation, medication reminders, general shopping and errands, transportation to appointments, or simply caring companionship and conversation. Other seniors need higher degrees of assistance; personal caregivers offer bathing, dressing, feeding, grooming, and even continence assistance, plus ambulation assistance (moving in and out of a wheelchair or bed).

“Some of the confusion surrounding non-medical care stems from the fact that multiple phrases are used interchangeably to describe it,” explains the American Elder Care Research Organization.  Terminology includes:

  • personal care
  • attendant care
  • companion care
  • non-medical home care
  • assistance with the activities of daily living

“The statistics are daunting when it comes to home care for older persons,” Robert Glatter, MD writes in Forbes. “The fact is that in a large percentage of cases, family members have difficulty caring for a senior relative, so searching for a caregiver is a necessity.” According to the Institute on Aging, “Chronic illness has replaced acute illness as the major health problem of older adults.” 

“Here at Action Products,” we wrote last Thanksgiving time, “we want to tap every one of those adult children on the shoulder, saying “Notice!”  With homes, families, and jobs in other cities, these adult children are simply unable to serve as caregivers themselves for their parents.  They may not be there to notice how many hours Mom is spending sitting in her wheelchair, and how red and chafed her lower back and buttocks have become from pressure sores. The daughter may not be there to notice, we pointed out, how unevenly – and uncomfortably – her father is positioned in his chair or in bed. Caregivers are there to notice.

At Action Products, we notice, too. More importantly, when it comes to pressure injuries, we prevent. In fact, our company pioneered the use of polymer gel in its extensive collection of home medical care supplies including:

  • rehabilitation pads and cushions
  • adaptive pads
  • mats
  • mattress overlays
  • commode covers,

all specifically designed to help the caregivers prevent pressure injury and bolster seniors’ seating posture.

Caregivers must have a very special combination of personal traits along with specialized training in safe positioning and transferring of their clients. Companies like Senior Helpers are there to provide the hiring and training; Action Products supplies the tools.