An elderly woman recives and a caring homecare professional

It's a daunting decision. As a caregiver, it's not easy to come to the realization that you need outside help with your loved ones as they battle a chronic condition.

There's guilt, there's fear, there's worry and, on top of all of that, there's tension that you won't choose the right caregiver – someone that your loved one will like. How do you handle all this?

Luckily, there's help.

Dorian Nixon, community outreach director with Palmetto Family Homecare, said that she hears from families when they begin to experience "caregiver burnout."

"We know how overwhelming it can be. It is a hard realization to come to that you just need an extra set of eyes on your loved one and that you can't do it alone," she said.

Nixon suggested that families research what is out there in terms of home care, home health and facilities.

"You just have to find what will fulfill your needs and what you feel comfortable with," she sympathized.

She shared that when her family researched different companies in the area for her grandmother, they sought someone that would integrate with them.

"We wanted to find someone that didn't look at it as a job to care for my grandmother," she remembered. "Trust was a major issue for us."

Palmetto Family Homecare takes the needs of the caregiver into consideration, almost as much as they value the needs of the patient.

"The family has to have that gut feeling that they found a good fit," she said.

Nixon pointed out that they like to do a "meet and greet" before the decision is made to make sure they are the right match for the family and the patient.

"Will they need 24-hour care or just a few hours?" she asked. "Home care is nice because the patient doesn't have to leave their comfort zone. It is more one-on-one care."

Nixon mentioned that what sets Palmetto Family Homecare apart is their specialty care services. She said they train their caregivers to treat and care for patients with Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer's and even Autism care for children.

"We teach our caregivers about the diseases so that they can understand the changes and progression," she said.

For example, there is a special group of caregivers with Palmetto Family Homecare who work specifically with Autistic children.

"These caregivers have the special training needed to work with their clients on personal care, redirection and social interacting," she commented.

With a background in social work herself, Nixon said that Palmetto Family Homecare can also help families with other necessary resources.

"We can help them find special equipment and get them in touch with nonprofits and support groups," she explained.

It takes a village, but, luckily, with help from facilities such as Palmetto Family Homecare, taking care of a loved one with chronic illness can be much less daunting.

"We know that everyone in the family is affected when a loved one needs extra care," she concluded. "We will do whatever we can to help."

By Theresa Stratford

Contact Palmetto Family Homecare
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