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Caregiver advice: deciding on help for a young adult

A customer with her parentsIf you’re a full-time caregiver for your adult son or daughter – or are considering becoming one – opening your circle of support to ask for extra help can be difficult at first.

Although it’s natural for you to want to support a loved one yourself, as the years go by, the lifelong commitment can start to become a concern, especially when it comes to the impact on your own health and wellbeing.

Let’s take a look at how some extra support at home can help and the options available for enabling your son or daughter to live a full and independent life.

A caregiver from childhood through to adulthood

If you’ve cared for a loved one for many years, as time goes by, their support needs may increase or new challenges may arise. Add in managing other family responsibilities and work commitments, and it can suddenly become very apparent that extra help is needed.

Some families may first consider using a private care provider for a temporary period, if they need a break or have fallen ill themselves. Called respite care, this temporary support can be a good way of sampling the services available and whether they would suit your family.

A young lady who receives live-in supportMelanie Dawson, our Head of Clinical Care, regularly helps families in the process of looking for extra support for their loved one. Her role is to help people with more complex healthcare needs, from 18 years and up, to live as full lives as possible, including university students and young professionals.

“It can certainly be daunting and unsettling for parents to realise when help is needed,” shares Melanie. “But once the right level of care is in place, the sense of relief for them is indescribable. Knowing that their loved one has the full support that’s required is a huge weight off their shoulders.

“But good care is about much more than that,” she adds. “It’s about a support package that’s completely centered around the individual and enabling them to live the way they want to live – whether that’s continuing with work, studying at uni, travelling abroad or simply enjoying their hobbies and interests.”

Support for progressive conditions

Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy and muscular dystrophy are progressive, which means that it’s important to have a clear plan for how to manage care needs into the future. For instance, you may need to research mobility aids or speech aids, modifications may need to be made around the home, or you might be thinking about moving your loved one closer to the family home in order to reduce the time it takes for you to get to them.

For younger adults with progressive conditions and complex needs such as these, it’s vital that they are still able to keep an active social life. Not only are our personal assistants trained to manage stomas, catheters, and peg-feeding tubes or tracheostomies, they will also get to know your loved one on an individual basis, getting to know their hobbies and interests and enabling them to maintain these in any way they can.

In short, they’ll be more than just a carer – they’ll also become a friend.

It is often thought that residential care is the only option for someone with more complex healthcare needs, and the prospect of moving away from the family can be a daunting and disrupting prospect. With an assistant on hand to help at all times – someone who has similar interests and outlook – a younger adult can retain the independence they may feel they have otherwise lost.

Support after a brain or spinal injury

Brain or spinal injuries are life-changing for many different reasons and the demands they can bring can be incredibly difficult to cope with for a younger adult who may well have been previously highly independent.

Rather than completely taking over, our personal assistants put the focus on encouraging and assisting when and where it’s needed, allowing your loved one to direct them as they see fit.

Our home care support can even be offered in an emergency situation. For example, if you are the main caregiver and need urgent cover because of a family illness or crisis, we’ll create a unique package of care so your relative has the support they need.

To learn more about our support and to arrange a free home care assessment, please get in touch with our team on 0808 274 7734.

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