Overnight Senior Assistance: How it May Delay the Need for a Nursing Home

overnight senior assistance
Hiring someone for just a few hours a night can keep your loved one at home longer.
Image source: Ulrich Joho

Most of us pride ourselves on being independent, and this quality doesn’t usually change as one ages. If your loved one has looked after themselves their whole lives, they’re likely to want to continue doing so well into their senior years.

Unfortunately, our bodies’ limitations don’t always allow us to fulfill our dreams. It can be heartbreaking to watch a once able-bodied loved one become weak and frail. You may think that nursing home placement is inevitable, but there may be another answer: overnight senior assistance.

What is overnight assistance?

Overnight senior assistance is, quite simply, when a qualified home health care worker stays with your loved one during the nighttime hours to attend to any needs they might have. Frequent services include a late-night snack, bathing, dressing for bed, toileting, and giving medications. They are also on hand to help if the senior requires something during the middle of the night (like a trip to the bathroom) or has an emergency. If you do hire someone for these tasks, make sure to do so from a qualified, reputable agency, and see that the candidate has the proper license, insurance, and bonding to work in your state.

How it can help your loved one

Early institutionalization may not be necessary if you procure the right home care services for your senior. Overnight assistance can prevent the need for a nursing home in many ways, but one of the chief benefits is that it decreases the risk for falls. Falls are one of biggest reasons for nursing home admissions, and one of the biggest reasons for falls is seniors getting up at night to use the restroom.

Now, this may not seem like a big deal to you or I, who may be able-bodied, or mostly-abled. But to a senior, the physiology and landscape are entirely different. Many medical conditions can cause weakness, vertigo, poor muscle conditioning and coordination, and confusion. Diabetics, for instance, often have neuropathy – a condition that leads to numbness in the hands and feet. With less sensation in the extremities, mobility can be decreased – especially at night, when vision impairment is often added to the list of challenges.

But if a senior can simply summon assistance with the touch of a bell or buzzer, their risk of a fall is greatly reduced. The same can be said if your senior has an emergency in the middle of the night, and cannot call for help. The overnight home health aide can call 911 and stay with your loved one until EMTs arrive.

How it can help you

Another advantage of overnight assistance that may not seem obvious is the benefit to you. If your loved one lives with you, you likely spend a great part of your day arranging services, doctors’ appointments, transportation, caregiving – and that’s not even including doing your own full or part-time work!

At the very least, you need and deserve a full eight hours of sleep. If you fail to get it because you’re constantly attending to your senior’s needs, it can negatively affect your health and overall well-being. Wanting to put your loved ones first is noble and admirable, but over time, it may lead to your own physical (and possibly mental) breakdown. Hiring someone to provide overnight assistance can let you rest and recover. This way, you’ll not only be able to take better care of yourself, you’ll be able to take better care of your loved one as well.

Consider overnight assistance for your loved one

Overnight senior assistance isn’t the answer for everyone, but it’s possible your senior can benefit. If they enjoy a fair amount of independence during the day, or have assistance available during that time, overnight care can help fill the gap. If they are interested in staying in their own home or a familiar environment, this is also something overnight assistance can help them to achieve. Talk to your loved one’s medical provider about options, and see which is right for your senior.

If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.

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