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On Quality of Life: What are Seniors QOL Factors?

One cannot underestimate the importance of caregivers and how they make our lives easier by helping in caring for our elders. However, caregivers must ensure they don't neglect to care for themselves too.

As of 2017, Singapore recorded about 8,300 people giving long-term care services to the elderly. The data include those providing care at centers and homes, hospices, nursing homes, and other community care settings. 

Caregiving (CG) is a growing profession. Over the years, more patients with complex conditions find themselves needing able people to look after them. 

However, it's not an easy job. CGs must ensure their quality of life (QOL) to last in the job while providing the best caregiver quality expected from them.

How does one quantify CG QOL? What is this scale, and what does it measure? Read on to find out more.

What is Caregiver (CG) Quality of Life (QOL)?

Of 53 million caregivers in the US, 43 percent are involved in high-intensity care conditions. The intensity pertains to their workload and the number of hours they spend each day on their patients.

CGs who did not finish college and are getting lower salaries often find themselves in high-intensity care situations. On the other hand, CGs caring for family members, relatives, or parents face lower-intensity care conditions than those who look after their sick partner or spouse.

Caregiving affects all aspects of the caregiver's life. Whether they are stay at home or work in health institutions as a primary caregiver for dementia patients or those with Alzheimer's disease doesn't matter.

All CGs face a stressful environment most of the time. Surveys have shown that among ten CGs, four would likely experience resentment, problems with physical health, mood swings, and depression. 

Time to Care of Themselves

Family caregivers must always prioritize their mental health. Their work is tasking. If you do not look after your physical and mental health, you will become susceptible to undue stress.

You have to think about your quality of life as a family caregiver. This is the scale CG QOL is about. 

You must not always think about the quality of life of your care recipient all the time. You must also have "me time" to focus on your mental health and physical health. 

Family caregivers must have a high quality of life as well. The CG QOL is a scale used to measure their quality of life.

This scale typically comes in questionnaire form. The materials are handed out for them to fill out. It is something that is widely used in the academe and the studies conducted by the World Health Organization.

They are most used in academic papers. The answers of the respondents are analyzed through quantitative and qualitative analysis.

The results will determine the quality of life of the family caregivers who responded. The studies using the quality of life questionnaire can also use the results to weigh the health conditions of today's family caregivers.

The Importance of Good Mental Health and Physical Health to Caregivers

Why is it crucial for caregivers to keep their quality of life in check? The demand for the job could adversely affect them as they last in it.

While they may be able to shrug off the effects in the beginning, the point will come when it becomes too much. 

If they choose to continue to ignore the symptoms by working as usual, their mental health and physical health will suffer in the long run.

They could suffer from physical and mental health problems that could affect their emotional, social, financial, and spiritual being.

Older family caregivers are more likely to suffer from a weak immune system and strain and worsening of physical health concerns. All these can increase their risk of mortality and developing chronic disease and other illnesses.

Other factors add to the weight these family caregivers have to bear. They include the demands of caring for end-of-life or dementia patients. 

The Causes of Stress for a Family Caregiver

The responsibilities of a family caregiver become more stressful when they work as a primary caregiver for patients with varying diagnoses. Some of these conditions that require a higher caregiver quality that can take a toll on their physical health are traumatic brain injury and cognitive disorders.

Aside from physical and mental health, the caregiver burden can cause problems to their psychological and physical health.

There are also times when regardless of the caregiver quality these family caregivers give, they still face financial problems. These are factors related to family caregivers who work in community services, respite, and social support. 

Providing the top caregiver quality when looking after your family members can also be stressful. According to the World Health Organization, many family caregivers end up being diagnosed with their own medical problems after providing their services to their loved ones.

You don't need to be told by the World Health Organization to rest for you to realize that you also need a break. You need to improve your quality of life by taking care of your mental health.

Your family members will understand if you ask for a pause at certain times. Explain to them the quality of life that you need to sustain and the factors related to your wellbeing.

You must make your family members or patients understand that you can only give an excellent caregiver quality if your quality of life is beyond good.

Focusing on the Quality of Life of a Family Caregiver

Employers, other family members, health professionals, and experts from related institutions, including the World Health Organization, need to promote the quality of life for family caregivers. The CG QOL scale is only there to monitor these family caregivers' quality of life.

Those around them are responsible for ensuring their family caregivers are making time and effort to take care of their own health and quality of life.

The CG QOL measures a variety of concerns, depending on the many areas a family caregiver is usually involved in. There is CG QOL for cancer, chronic disease, lung cancer patient, delirium, dementia patients, and more.

When family caregivers are measured to have a poor quality of life, it doesn't mean they are sick. Most studies using Caregiver Quality of Life or CG QOL measure the answers based on the Zarit Burden Interview. 

This basis focuses on the spiritual, physical, financial, social, and emotional burdens family caregivers suffer from as a result of their job.

Other studies tried to have a broader basis for the measurements. To date, the focus of the data is more on the strain and burden that family caregivers go through as part of their job.

The Importance of Caregiver Quality of Life or CG QOL

The Caregiver Quality of Life or CG QOL can be used to assess family caregivers' health. The assessment will not solely focus on their physical health. It will determine their mental health and other factors that affect their quality of life.

Why is Caregiver Quality of Life or CG QOL important? Why not simply ask family caregivers how they are? More often than not, family caregivers wouldn't know that they have a problem until the burden is already taking a toll on their mental health and quality of life.

This is why family caregivers must answer the provided questions in the Caregiver Quality of Life or CG QOL questionnaire. This way, any problem can be detected early on. 

When their employers, family members, and institutions know the results of the Caregiver Quality of Life or CG QOL questionnaire, help can be extended, and problems can be addressed early on.

The tool can help in determining the needs of family caregivers. It makes it possible to personalize the family caregivers' access to health services.

More about the Singapore Caregiver Quality of Life Scale 

Singapore has long used a similar tool to assess their family caregivers' quality of life. This is through the Singapore Caregiver Quality of Life Scale (SCQGOLS).

The following five scales comprise the SCQGOLS. They help in determining the quality of life of the family caregivers in Singapore:

  1. Physical well being

  2. Mental well being

  3. Experience & meaning

  4. Impact on daily life

  5. Financial well being

These items have been adopted by family caregivers looking after dementia patients and PWD. However, the scale was originally intended for family caregivers looking after dementia patients.

The Singapore Caregiver Quality of Life Scale (SCQGOLS) is mostly used in quantitative research of academic papers that want to focus on the health of family caregivers.

The most important thing here is to remind ourselves about the importance of quality of life when hiring maid for elderly patients

No matter how efficient and top-notch caregiver quality these family caregivers often give, they won't always stay that way. These family caregivers need to look after their quality of life.

So the next time you see family caregivers in an elderly home care Singapore, it wouldn't be too hard to ask how they are. They are humans, too, and need to hear kind words to ease the burden and stress they are often faced with. 

Final Words

The Caregiver Quality of Life or CG QOL can help family caregivers assess their mental health and other aspects of their lives. The scale can help them reflect on what to do and what to change to achieve a quality of life.

They can use it as their mental health summary scales. The assessment will help them determine the caregiver strain index and other aspects of being family carers.

If you have family caregivers looking after your family members, walk them through the CG QOL. Do it more often if you have an elderly caregiver under your wing. 

By allowing our family caregivers to achieve the best quality of life, they will have more reasons to give their patients the best caregiver quality.

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