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Overnight Care: How to Help Ageing Parents

If your loved one needs extra support to remain safely and happily in their own home, there are various ways to provide this. You or another family member may be able to give them the care they need in the daytime, but unless you can get enough rest at night, the situation can become impossible. We examine how you can help your ageing parents when they need care at home, including some level of support through the night.

Sleeping night care

In this arrangement, a caregiver will sleep in your loved one’s home. This can be helpful for people who are anxious if they are left alone during the night, but who do not need a great deal of physical support then. The carer will be there for at least eight hours and will sleep in their own room but will be available to help your loved one if they need assistance during the night. Normally, a carer working a “sleeping night” would not expect to have to get up any more than twice. If your loved one needs more frequent attention than this, the shift would be classed as a “waking night”.

Waking night care

In this home-care option, the carer is actually on duty in your loved one’s home for a shift of around 10 hours, although different shift lengths may be arranged. They will not need a room or a bed, as they will not be sleeping. If your loved one needs help several times during the night, this could be the best option for them. For example, they may require assistance in changing their position at regular intervals to prevent the development of pressure sores, or they might need medication administered at set times.

For older people needing dementia care, waking care might be necessary to ensure that they do not come to any harm during the night. People living with dementia are sometimes unable to interpret the signs that it is night time and may get up and try to leave the house. In-home care at night for them would need to be from a carer who was alert to this possibility.

An elderly person who is very anxious and needs reassurance from a carer may also need waking night care.

A sitting service

This might be needed if you or another family member provides elderly care for your loved one, but need a break during the night. A carer would visit to stay with the older person for a fixed length of time, such as two or four hours, while the primary carer has a break.

Mikis’ care story

In this short video, Nick and Maro explain their reasons for choosing Elder live-in care. They discuss how live-in care has allowed Nick’s father Mikis to stay independent in his own home while making a new friend at the same time.

Live-in care

With this care option, a live-in carer moves into your loved one’s home to provide 24/7 care. Although they will sleep at night, they will be available to get up and assist if your relative requires help.

This can be a cost-effective way of helping an ageing parent to retain a level of independent living in their own home, as the carer will provide care support, but can also carry out various other tasks for them. A live-in carer will often undertake shopping, meal preparation, laundry and light domestic duties - as well as provide companionship and reassurance.

If your parent needs dementia care, you could request that your private care provider to match your parent with a carer who has experience in looking after people living with the condition. Some carers have also undertaken accredited Alzheimer’s care courses, which can equip them with the knowledge to support people with dementia.

Various aids can also help in the care of people who might be at risk due to their dementia. It is possible to install a pressure switch under a bedside rug, or a bed or chair alarm that will alert the carer if your loved one gets up and might fall or otherwise hurt themselves. Doors can also be alarmed so that the person cannot leave the house without their carer hearing and going to help. For night times, an alarm could sound to wake the carer.

Private live-in care is only possible if your loved one has a spare bedroom for the carer’s use. A live-in carer will also need an internet connection and probably a television in their room as they will need to use the room for breaks as well as for sleeping.

Elderly care from a live-in carer can provide you with peace of mind, as you will no longer have the worry of whether your parents are safe at all times. It can also be the ideal solution if your loved one is anxious about being alone and tends to phone you in the night for reassurance.

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