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Understanding Overnight Care for the Elderly

Being an aging loved one's caregiver is tough. It's even tougher when that care extends well into the night. They may need assistance getting up in the night, or they may need redirection or any other manner of assistance.

When you're busy worrying about them being safe and cared for, you're not getting the rest you need. This fatigue accumulates and means you aren't at your best when caring for your loved one. When you get into this type of situation, it's time to look into overnight care.

What are the options for overnight care

The responsibility for overnight care doesn't have to be your responsibility alone. You have options for overnight care that can make your and your family's lives easier. When you decide to hire private night care you have several options to consider:

Constant care versus On Call care

Depending on your loved one's needs you can choose to have care constantly through their sleeping hours. If they don't need continuous monitoring throughout the night however, you can choose an on-demand service.

These are also referred to as sleepover services. On call or sleepover services come overnight and staff is able to sleep; only when your loved one has assistance needs or has gotten up in the night do they go to assist.

Constant or waking overnight care workers stay awake all night to monitor your loved one should they have any needs. While this is much more intensive care, it benefits seniors that have greater health issues or need continuous supervision.

How to decide what kind of care is right:

First, you need to have an honest assessment of your aging loved one's needs and capacity for self care.

Ask questions like:

  • What health issues and complications are they dealing with?
  • Are they at a high risk for slips and falls?
  • Do they have dementia or a related condition? Do they show signs of developing it and what is the level of severity?
  • How often do they wake during the night?
  • What mobility issues might they have?

Seniors without severe health issues often don't require as much supervision. However, mobility issues can be an injury risk. If they're also sleeping for good portions of time through the night, you likely don't need them constantly watched.

In these cases, a sleepover service can be employed to good use. This means the overnight caregivers will wake when there are assistance needs and sleep until the next time help is needed. You will be able to rest without getting up yourself multiple times to help your loved one.

Seniors that have extensive health issues or that have a preexisting injury often need much more attention. Even those recovering from surgery need special monitoring. With dementia sufferers especially, constant supervision is necessary to prevent injury and other issues. Aging family members that have serious concerns such as these benefit from constant overnight care.

Caregivers often arrive at set hours during the evening and stay awake throughout the night until their shift ends. They'll then ensure you're there to take over your loved one's care before departing.

Tips for hiring overnight In-Home Care

Finding proper overnight care can be difficult: you don't want to trust your loved one's care to just anybody. Fortunately, we have some tips that can make finding the right overnight care easier:

Don't give up

First, being the full-time caregiver is exhausting and can lead to feelings of burnout. Don't give up, overnight care can be a life changing transition for your loved one and yourself.

It's worth finding the right caregiver. So don't get discouraged in your search. The right in home overnight care will improve your lives like you never imagined.

Get recommendations

If you have trusted peers that have been through something similar, ask for recommendations. Personal recommendations are a sign of high esteem, so it's a good place to start. You can also ask your loved one's physicians, therapists, or nurses to point you in the direction of a reputable service. When looking into an home overnight care service, read reviews of previous clients.

Ask a lot of questions

When interviewing a care service or provider, bring a list of questions and get their contact information in case additional questions arise later.

Aside from typical questions involving their rates, there are a slew of others to ask. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • What hours and days will they be providing assistance? Will they be available only during the week or do they also provide weekends?
  • If it is a sleepover service, will they have a set limit of times they wake up to assist? Keep in mind some services may have limits as to this before they wake you to take over.
  • Do they have experience with dementia, Alzheimer's, and other issues your loved one may have?
  • Will the staff be the same person/s or will staff rotate?


While it can be difficult to decide to hire overnight care for your aging loved one, it gives long term benefits for your entire family. In home overnight care allows you the rest you need to be able to continue caring for your loved one during waking hours. The peace of mind you get from knowing you can rest easy while your loved one is in capable hands is invaluable.

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