Preparing for your Elderly Loved One’s Care – Part 2

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Part 2: Identifying Caregiver Burnout and Utilizing Resources to Avoid It —

Are you currently caring for a loved one? Maybe your parents? Or do you find yourself possibly having to care for your parents soon? Caring for a loved one is an honor but it can also lead to burnout. We’d like to share with you some ideas and resources to help avoid this. Welcome to The Senior Circle where we hope to inspire and help others by providing valuable, relevant information related to caring for an elderly loved one. Hi, my name is Dawn Neely and I’ll be your host. Thank you for joining us.

Caring for your loved one, your parents, it can be really draining. It can be physically draining, mentally draining, and it can affect you tremendously, so it’s really important that you understand that it’s very common for family caregivers to experience burnout. You may feel guilty or inadequate at times with the level of support that you’re able to provide, but it’s important, it’s very important that you take care of yourself. There are some signs that you should look for. Some things that you might start experiencing that really would be red flags for you. If you’re starting to feel very fatigued, if you find yourself becoming irritable or if you find yourself withdrawing from activities that you would normally love to engage in, these are signs that maybe you should consider reaching out for some help. If you start feeling guilty, if you start feeling physically that you’re being affected and maybe even experiencing illnesses, it’s time for you to consider getting somebody else on your support team.

Reach out for help. If you have a family support system, fantastic. That’s a wonderful way to do it. Ask your siblings, ask your other loved ones if they’re able to dedicate some time to supporting your parents or your loved one. If you don’t have a family support network, you have options as well. There are companies that are non-medical that can provide support for you. Seniors Helping Seniors is one of them. And the support that’s available to you will give you the ability to be there as an adult child and not only provide the support that’s needed in activities, but also love on your parents the way you really want to. Every family’s different and you may have disagreements about how you decide to proceed with the care for your loved one, but as a primary care provider, it’s very important that people recognize and respect your decisions.

There are other ways if you don’t have family support to incorporate things that could be helpful for your loved one. You could, for example, enroll them in an adult daycare program. There are many available and they can be incredibly helpful to your loved one’s daily routine and give you time as well. You can sign them up for meal delivery services. Those are very important and can be very nutritiously done. So that’s something to consider as well. There are volunteer senior programs out there that you might want to consider. Contact a church. Contact somebody to find out if there are programs that might be able to be incorporated into your parents’ support system. And you can also reach out to friends, reach out to loved ones, and find out if there’s somebody that can help. If you end up, like I said earlier, hiring professional services, that’s a wonderful option as well.

The important thing is to give you back some time. The important thing is to make sure that you’re taken care of as well. While you want to make sure that the services are there for your loved one, you also want to make sure that you can be the adult child and love on your parent as well.

Another thing to keep in mind as you’re walking this walk with your parents is making sure that you take them into account. Acknowledge that asking for help, accepting help, can be really challenging. Our senior loved ones have been accustomed to being able to do the things that they’ve done for years and recognizing that things are becoming a little bit more difficult can be very challenging. We need to recognize that and accept that we can incorporate our loved one’s desires into our plan of support. Make sure you discuss things with your parents before you just put them into place. Make sure you understand their fears. Make sure you understand their concerns. Make sure they feel part of it because, in the end, that’s going to make it so much easier for you because it’s going to be something that’s much more accepting by them. It’s important that we listen to them, that we understand their concerns and we bring them into the fold of the care plan.

It may be as easy as talking to them about options and services that they have available, such as mobility devices. If they’re having a difficult time around just maybe talking to them about the different kinds of walkers that exist or things they can use. It might be a medication device that could be incorporated into their day that would help them if they’re not remembering to take their medications correctly. There are certain home modifications that could be discussed that aren’t incredibly invasive but it could be as simple as putting grab bars in their showers to make sure that they’re safer. Recognizing these things early on and just presenting these potential services or things that could help them will help them feel a part of the plan and a part of what’s being decided. As an adult child, you don’t want to come in and bulldoze or kick down the door and say this is the way it’s going to be. But at the same time, you want them to know that there are things that they could do and options available for them.

All in all, we know that caring for your loved one, caring for your parents can be very stressful and very difficult. But if you take steps to make sure that your parent feels secure, safe and loved, I think you’re gonna do very well. If you have any questions, if you’d like to know anything about what non-medical services, private duty care could provide for your senior loved one, please give us a call at Seniors Helping Seniors. We’d be happy to discuss with you the different types of services that are available and how we might be able to help. You can reach us at 248-969-4000 and we would love to talk to you.

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