Caregivers often struggle because they want to keep their elderly loved ones at home. Often, people say “I promised Mom that I’d never put her in one of those places.” Cost is another concern, as many families are unable to afford the high cost of assisted living facilities. As long as it’s safe for everyone, keeping seniors at home is a wonderful thing to do. However, caregiver burnout is a real concern, and it’s important to care for yourself so you can continue to care for your loved one. Below are a few tips to help an elderly family member retain their independence.
Assess Care Requirements
In some cases, caregivers struggle to see the big picture because they’re so busy with day-to-day tasks. To see how much care a senior needs, list all the things you do. Does the person need help during the daytime, at night, or constantly? By keeping a journal for a few days, it’s easier to see when secure memory care is needed.
Set Realistic Expectations
Next, it’s important to consider the difference between the senior’s care requirements and what can be done without harming your own health. Mismatches are common and they lead to burnout. A good way to cut the workload is to ask for help, but that’s not always easy to do.
The most crucial thing to do is to look for ways to save time and remove tasks from your to-do list. It may take effort, patience, and creative thinking, but it will be worthwhile when you can finally take a break. Ask relatives to schedule time to help out with care-giving, chores, insurance claims, finances, and errands.
Take a Load Off
Sometimes, family and friends simply can’t help. That doesn’t mean all the care-giving duties should fall to one person, and it’s okay to ask for help. Consider:
- Enrolling the senior in an adult day program that provides care, socialization, and a respite for caregivers.
- Hiring an in-home care-giving helper
- Finding a senior companion’s program in the area · Using respite care services
Finally, it’s vital to automate as many tasks as possible. Anything that helps conserve energy and save time without sacrificing care and comfort is a worthwhile effort.
Share the Responsibility
Some caregivers do such a wonderful job that others assume they don’t need any help. If there are siblings or other close relatives, ask them to take on some of the responsibility so you can take a (much deserved) break.
Asking other family members to take on some of the responsibilities of care-giving may involve anything from moving the senior into someone else’s home, taking turns staying with them, or having someone come over to provide respite care. When people are willing and able to help, it makes sense to be flexible and creative. No situation is perfect, but any help will lessen the caregiver’s workload.
Decrease Financial Pressure
Caring for a senior family member is costly and can lead to substantial financial burdens. Reducing the cost of care-giving decreases the level of financial stress and pressure on the caregiver, and it may allow them to help the senior stay independent.
Aging is an unavoidable and sometimes stressful part of life, and in many cases, caring for an elderly family member becomes one person’s responsibility. With these tips, it’s possible for caregivers to help their senior relatives without undue burdens on themselves.
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