How much free time does a senior caregiver have?
Caring for an elderly person is often associated with the need for a caregiver to live with the mentee. This is called round-the-clock home care. This support model makes it possible to provide constant support for the senior, at any time of the day or night. It is therefore puzzling whether a caregiver who decides to work in the scheme: of care with residence has time for himself. If so, in what amount of time? When can he afford to rest? It turns out that the answer to this question is not simple and depends on many factors. How many hours a senior caregiver works is largely related to the individual needs of the mentee.
A good reference point is how the German care industry deals with the topic of free time for carers of the elderly. The model of care for seniors in Germany is well developed, so strategies for developing various problems related to the care industry have already been improved. A private caregiver in Germany works an average of 7 hours a day. Of course, this applies to situations where the senior does not have very complicated needs. Each case is different, and the caregiver must adapt his work to the specific person and their needs. It happens that during the day there is so much work that one person is not able to deal with it. In such cases, it seems necessary to employ two nannies who work simultaneously, sharing the same duties.
The caregiver’s day for the elderly in Germany is filled with a variety of tasks. It is worth knowing that the price of senior care also depends on the quantity. The more of them, the higher the cost of a caregiver for an elderly person becomes. Therefore, at the beginning of cooperation, it is worth clearly defining what tasks will belong to the senior caregiver. In addition, it is right to include them in a contract that both parties must accept. Such a procedure will allow the enforcement of possible claims if either party fails to comply with the terms of the contract.
- Waking up the senior at the appointed time, providing him with a comfortable start to the day.
- Support with daily toilet and dressing, giving the patient a sense of independence.
- Assistance in movement, enabling the senior to function freely in the home space.
- Preparing meals and taking care of a proper diet
- Assistance in everyday activities, such as shopping or running errands.
- Providing companionship, and the ability to empathize with the emotions of the older person, giving them support.
- Planning activities that will enrich the day of the mentee and its activation.
- Administering medication at the right times.
- Care for health by observing the behavior and well-being of the seniors, and capturing the changes taking place in them.
- Taking care of the safety of the senior by monitoring him and the environment in terms of possible threats
- Preparation for the evening toilet and washing to end the day in a calm atmosphere.
- Supporting the senior in preparing for sleep, thus guaranteeing him a comfortable rest.
However, the duties of a senior caregiver do not always end with those directly related to the care of the senior. They may also include others, e.g. additional work in the garden, moving by car to run errands, taking care of fees, etc. As already mentioned, the caregiver deserves additional payment for the above services. This settlement should be made taking into account the price list of the caregiver’s services, which should be read at the beginning of cooperation.
In addition, during the week, there may also be extra duties. These can be meetings with senior friends, medical visits, rehabilitation, or cultural events in which the senior has a wish to participate. We can predict most of them much earlier. This allows you to plan the organization of participation in these events well in advance. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the senior or his family to inform the caregiver about this fact in advance so that he has a chance to plan his free time.
It is clear from this that the duties of a caregiver for an elderly person are varied and time-consuming. The key to success is to find a balance between work and free time. The caregiver must have a chance to take care of himself, and his needs and recharge his batteries. After all, to take good care of others, one must not forget about one’s well-being and health.
Most caregivers finish their main duties around 8-9 p.m., while later hours are reserved mainly for possible emergencies. However, if everything goes smoothly, the caregiver for the elderly person has time for herself. She can then delve into the world of her interests – they can be: reading a book, listening to her favorite music, watching movies, or other passions.
Working hours and regulations in Germany
German law regulates that the carer of an elderly person can work up to 38.5 hours a week and a maximum of 6 days a week. From this, it follows that the caregiver should have at least one day off a week. If for some reason this is not possible, then adequate remuneration for this working time is a must.
It is not easy to determine the number of working hours of a babysitter during the week, because each case is different. Spending time together while walking, solving crossword puzzles, or watching movies are moments that are difficult to classify as work. At the same time, it is impossible to classify them as the caregiver’s free time, because during them he still takes care of the well-being of the senior. Despite the full commitment, the caregiver has the right to a peaceful night and moments for himself during the day. The key is to find the golden mean between caring for the senior and taking care of your own needs.
Being “available” is not the same as working around the clock
Usually, caregivers have several hours during the day when they are not working. In the case of round-the-clock home care, where the caregiver lives with the mentee, she remains alert around the clock. Non-working hours usually start around 20/21, although it should be remembered that this depends on the mentee. After these hours, the caregivers no longer do any work. They are only available in the event of an emergency – when something unexpected happens and they have to help an elderly person. However, if nothing like this happens, they have time for themselves.
Individual arrangements with the family and the care company
The work of a caregiver for an elderly person stands out from other professions. This is not a standard 9-to-5 job. The key element is to adapt to the individual needs of the mentee and the conditions of cooperation with the family and the company coordinating care.
It is crucial to understand the needs of both the elderly person and the caregiver. On the one hand, taking care of the seniors seems to be the most important. On the other hand, the caregiver of an elderly person has rights that must be respected. Undoubtedly, a rested caregiver of an elderly person is the best situation for the person he helps. For this reason, it is very important to understand each other’s expectations and needs. When the senior’s family and the caregiver reach an agreement in this area, it will become possible to have fruitful and effective cooperation.
Although care for seniors – whether in Germany, England, or anywhere else – is a demanding and engaging task, it is worth remembering that it is a profession like any other. A caregiver for an elderly person, just like an employee of any other industry, deserves a rest, so care should be taken to provide it to the person working in this position.
Despite the many difficulties associated with the work of a caregiver, and the dedication that this profession requires, it is worth remembering that at the same time, it is financially attractive. Tempting earnings apply especially to those who decide to work abroad, such as in Germany. Care in a retirement home with a residence also has an impact on the amount of remuneration. The terms of employment depend on many factors, including the contract, but also the relationship with the mentee and his family. Anyone interested in working as a caregiver for an elderly person is encouraged to familiarize themselves with the offer of a babysitter agency.