As the baby boomer generation ages, more children and grandchildren are becoming caregivers for their senior loved ones. Caring for a loved one is a selfless way to show how much you love him or her. It can also be extremely challenging. Surviving as a family caregiver means you need to learn how to set boundaries and take time for yourself.
1. Choose Your Reason
Dig deep inside yourself and figure out the real reason you want to care for your loved one. Maybe it’s because you’re worried about another caregiver providing proper care, or maybe you want to give back to your loved one after everything he or she has done for you. Narrow down your reason to a simple statement and post it in a place you’ll see often, such as on the mirror or refrigerator. Having a meaningful purpose behind caregiving can make the experience easier.
2. Indulge the Fantasy
Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often insist they’re right when they’re not. This can be frustrating, and you probably already know it won’t do any good to argue. Instead of becoming frustrated, indulge your loved one’s fantasy. For example, if your loved one insists his or her deceased spouse took him or her to the movies yesterday, ask about the movie and what snacks they ate together.
3. Let Go of Perfection
In an ideal world, you’d be able to run errands with your loved one whenever you need to get things done. However, the reality may be very different. You may need to work around your loved one’s schedule or leave a store if he or she becomes upset suddenly. You might have to get used to your loved one’s hair not looking perfect or your house being slightly cluttered. It’s okay. Let go of the idea of perfection and embrace life’s uncertainties.
Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted at-home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help.
4. Listen to the Feeling Behind the Words
Your loved one might be confused and not know how to express what he or she really means, which can be frustrating for both of you. Instead of just listening to his or her words, listen for the feeling. For example, your loved one may repeatedly tell you he or she wants to go home when you’re already in his or her house. Your loved one may mean he or she wants comfort. Offer to brush your loved one’s hair, read a book, or watch a movie together to distract and comfort him or her.
5. Join a Support Group
Knowing you aren’t alone can make a difficult situation much better, which is why support groups exist. Join a caregiver support group, either online or in person. Connecting with other caregivers can help you manage difficult days and give you caregiving ideas you can use in the future.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Green Valley Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
6. Take a Break with Respite Care
Everyone needs a break once in a while. Taking time for you is one of the best things you can do while caregiving. When you take time for yourself, you’ll be refreshed and ready to be your best self for your loved one. Respite care involves hiring an outside caregiver to care for your loved one while you attend to your own needs.
Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Green Valley families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 520-625-2050 to learn about the high quality of our in-home respite care services.