The Caregiver’s Guide to Senior Care

Author: Kristin Worthington

Senior care can be challenging: whether it’s a parent or a patient, the difficulties that arise can vary day to day, and it could get to the point that you are physically and emotionally drained. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some suggestions on how you can make the situation less difficult for you and the elderly person you’re caring for.

Set Boundaries
It’s tempting to do everything when it comes to elderly care for parents and loved ones, but unless you set boundaries you’re going to suffer from physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. If you’re going to do whatever they ask all the time, you’re health will give way. As a caregiver you have to set boundaries on what your responsibilities are as well as those of the rest of the family. You must accept that you have needs that must be taken care of.

Be Flexible with Your Schedule
Having stated the above, you need to be flexible: you never know when one of your parents might suffer a stroke or the patient you’re caring for requires a medical emergency. In cases like these you have to set aside your boundaries and take appropriate action. Caregiving for the long term also means the elderly’s needs will change and you must be prepared to adopt.

How to Cope with Resistance – Causes
One of the hardest things you may face with in-home care is resistance from the senior. The first step towards helping someone who doesn’t want it is to understand the cause.

If your loved one requires care, it is most likely due to a disability resulting in mental loss, physical loss, etc. The resistance stems from the fact they fear giving up their privacy and independence. This could result in your loved one feeling angry or afraid, or they could feel guilty because they are becoming a “burden” to you and the rest of the family.

Another possible reason is a mental health condition, or perhaps they think that asking for help is an indication of weakness. Another possible reason is their concern over the cost.

The Right Approach
Home health aides can tell if a person is resistant to assistance, and if that is the case with your loved one, you have to take the proper approach to avoid worsening the situation.

Here are some guidelines:

Assess what type of help is required. Speak with family members and figure out the best form of assistance or service they require.

Talk with the person when they are relaxed as it will make things easier and allow for both to speak your minds. While you’re discussing the subject, ask about their personal preferences and if you can work out an arrangement.

Do not hesitate to ask for help. Even professional caregivers need assistance whether it’s caring for a family member or someone else. Do not hesitate to tell them you are tired and need help. Caring for the elderly is stressful and will take its toll if you keep it to yourself. Don’t let it reach the point you take your frustrations on the person you’re caring for.

While you’re the caregiver that doesn’t mean you have to do this alone. Other family members can pitch in while you’re talking a break or better yet, talk to them so you can come up with a solution where everyone helps. The point is even a caregiver needs help.

Be Knowledgeable
Know what condition is affecting the person you’re caring for can simplify your duties. Is it dementia? Did he/she suffer a stroke? Learn as much as you can about their medical condition –symptoms, treatment, causes, - and you will be better off for it. You’re not trying to replace their doctor, but knowing the facts is going to go far in terms of easing your daily routines. As any professional caregiver can tell you, the more informed you are the better you and your loved one will be.

Home health care has improved significantly the past few years, but in the end it’s the human touch that the elderly need. By being informed and patient, you can develop the right approach in caring for them without sacrificing your health or well-being.

Home Helpers of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in Cincinnati, Kenwood, Blue Ash, Indian Hill, Greenhills, Fort Thomas, Hyde Park, Madeira, Sharonville, Mason, West Chester, Mt. Lookout, Anderson, Wyoming, Covington, Burlington, Florence, Montgomery, Mt. Washington, Finneytown, Milford, Newport, Clifton, and Forest Park.



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