Family, friends and neighbors make up the majority of caregivers for seniors in Canada. We do our best to look after the seniors in our life and support them in every possible way, but at some point we also realize that we can't always do everything, and that's when hiring professional help is a good option. Did you know that a kinesiologist can help improve a person's balance and posture? Did you know that a personal support worker will not only help with personal hygiene but also with household chores? Here's a list of some excellent professionals you can turn to in times of need.
Kinesiologists are licensed health care professionals who are experts in body movement. Kinesiologists use evidence-based research to develop programs for people, helping them get and stay fit, and perform at their optimum level. Kinesiologists believe in empowering people to look after their own health. They focus on prevention and wellbeing, increasing productivity and reducing time lost to injuries and accidents. They can help manage pain, improve posture and increase the range of motion in injured limbs. Find out more about Kinesiologists here.
2. Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists help solve the problems that interfere with a person’s ability to do the things that are important to them – everyday things like self-care, getting dressed, eating, moving around the house, being productive - going to work or school, participating in the community, and leisure activities - sports, gardening, social activities. Occupational therapy can also prevent a problem or minimize its effects.
Find out more about Occupational Therapists here.
3. Health Care Aid (HCA) / Personal Support Worker (PSW)
When an individual has difficulty performing daily tasks, such as bathing, they may benefit from having extra help at home. PSWs are best suited to provide this type of care. PSWs are trained to perform lifts and transfers so they can safely help patients with bathing and grooming, and getting dressed. PSWs also help with light house keeping and laundry, meal planning and preparation, medication reminders, watchful companionship, escorting to medical appointments and social events.
4. Home Support Workers (HSW)
The main difference between a PSW and HSW is that HSWs are not allowed to have physical contact with clients. PSWs can help their patients with personal daily needs that require lifts and transfers; however this is not the case for HSWs.
Individuals that require help around their home, but don’t require any assistance involving physical contact may benefit from a HSW. HSWs visit individuals’ homes and help with light housekeeping and laundry, meal planning and preparation, medication reminders, watchful companionship, escorting to medical appointments and social events.
5. Personal Chefs
A personal chef or private chef is a chef who is hired by different clients and prepares meals in the clients' home kitchens, based on their needs and preferences. A personal chef will meet with a client and customize a meal plan by determining how often the service will be provided and the number of meals cooked each time. The client will typically choose various meals from the chef's menu, then the chef will shop for all groceries, prepare the meal(s) on a designated "cook date" in the client's home, package the meals for the refrigerator or freezer, clean the kitchen and leave detailed reheating instructions.
6. Companionship Providers
Whether they stop by for a chat to ensure safety and wellbeing or engaging in meaningful activities to create positive and enjoyable experiences, it is comforting to know that a friendly, professional companion can simply spend time with seniors. Companions will engage in activities such as puzzles, games, and reading, escorted walks. They provide assistance with feeding and mobility to a certain extent. They also provide respite care for family caregivers during the day, overnight, or even 24-hours.
7. Foot Care Nurses
Foot care nurses are registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs)/registered practical nurses (RPNs) and personal support workers (PSWs) that are trained and certified in this practice. The difference is that PSWs are able to provide basic foot care while RNs and LPNs/RPNs can provide advanced foot care to their clients. Foot care nurses provide medical treatment, not pedicures! Certified foot care nurses are trained to do the following services:
- Callous removal and/or corn removal
- Trim toenails for clients who may have complications that make it unsafe or impossible for them to do it themselves (for example: nerve damage due to diabetes, dementia, arthritis, etc.)
- Provide education for clients and caregivers regarding ongoing foot care, selecting proper-fitting shoes, etc.
- Spot potential issues and take appropriate action before infection sets in or the pain gets worse
8. Health Advocates
Health advocates provide direct service to an individual or family as well as activities that promote health and access to health care in communities and the larger public. Advocates support and promote the rights of the patient in the health care arena, help build capacity to improve community health and enhance health policy initiatives focused on available, safe and quality care. Health advocates are best suited to address the challenge of patient-centered care in our complex healthcare system.
They provide you with the information you need to make informed health care related decisions. They collaborate with other health care providers to mediate conflict and facilitate positive change, and as educators and health information specialists, advocates work to empower others. Learn more about services provided by health advocates here.
I can imagine how challenging it can be for someone to manage their personal life, career and caregiving duties. At in4MED, we can make this stressful time easier by providing you with information about medical conditions, connecting you to local support systems and being there for you as your trusted health advocates. As always, feel free to connect with me or leave a comment.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.