The idea of caring for a parent who is obviously struggling to accomplish the necessary activities of life often seems like the “right” or compassionate thing to do. That is true. It is most often a truly fulfilling experience. But, caregiving can also present new demands and stresses that were not anticipated.
First let’s celebrate those who provide support to our seniors and to recognize the sacrifices they make. Caregivers are the unsung heroes of our day, and their contributions frequently go unnoticed. However, I also want to urge them to understand and manage the process carefully. When you do choose to care for a parent in your home or theirs, keep in mind these tips to help you avoid burnout and take care of yourself first:
Schedule regular time for yourself and other family members—like kids and spouses.
Eat nutritious meals.
Get regular medical check-ups.
Use respite care frequently.
Ask other family members for help.
Join a support group.
Caregivers also need to understand what options exist so they can take breaks or get needed assistance. But, when do you know that it is time to investigate an increased level of care for your parent or loved one, or additional support for yourself? The first issue—always—is safety. If your parent’s health or safety is in jeopardy under your care for whatever reason, you need to move them to a higher level of supervised care. In addition, if caring for a parent or family member jeopardizes your health and safety or that of another member of your family, it is time to look at other alternatives.
There are a number of options for care beyond your sole supervision of a parent. Making use of these options can help reduce the stress level for everyone in the family.These include:
Adult Day Care
Adult day care allows the caregiver to take his or her parent to an engaging environment for a period of time so that they can have a day off here and there. Adult day care offers stimulating activities and can also be integrated into the overall care regime for a parent.
In-home support and licensed home health care providers can be hired to provide basic assistance or medical care in the home on a scheduled basis.
Respite care involves having someone come into the home for planned short-term and long-term breaks for families and caregivers. It can also be provided via short-term overnight stays at an Assisted Living community.
Another option is Assisted Living. Assisted Living provides the parent with the opportunity to move into a community so that they have continual access to the level of help they need. Assisted Living is consumer driven and currently one of the most popular options available for seniors. This is true because it provides the kind of flexibility seniors need to meet a variety of care levels while also giving them the independence they want. Assisted Living is ideal for seniors who need help with things like bathing, medication management, meals, transportation and socialization.
Today’s message is this: caregiving can be a fulfilling and satisfying way to support and love an aging parent and show appreciation for all they have given to you. However, when you become a caregiver, it important to manage the process wisely. Be aware of stressors and potential burn-out. Take care of yourself. And finally, plan ahead by learning about care options, particularly those that will allow your parent to comfortably transition to higher levels of care if they are needed.
Categories: Memory Care