Family and Caregiving

Family and Caregiving Tips for Elderly

To receive love and be able to return it is probably one of the best expressions of gratitude a child can give to a parent. As we age, roles tend to reverse as does the role of caregiver.  Commitment to providing selfless care to an aging parent can be self-fulfilling. However, there are always two sides of a story.

As children age, they strive to achieve a sense of independence. Working hard enables one to develop and build a family.  Balancing elder care responsibilities as parent’s age with your own immediate family is another story. A positive outlook to caregiving role is necessary.

Approach Caregiving as a Gift

Playing the primary role when dealing with an aging parent is a gift.  Caregiving may impose physical and mental strain on immediate families. At times, caregiving requires time off from work and play.  Like most Americans, time for caregiving may impose time away from an income that is needed to maintain a household.  Joggling work and taking care of an aging family member leave some family members feeling sandwiched, pulled between household responsibilities of small children and that of an aging parent. If this sounds like your situation, you are not alone.

Taking Care of the Caregiver

The immense physical strain of taking care of an elderly could also pose health issues on the part of the provider being that an increase level of stress can weaken the person’s immune system. This could predispose him to acquiring certain illnesses due to a lowered resistance against infection. With this, performance on the functions as a care provider and an employee could be in jeopardy.

With such big responsibility, family roles could also be sacrificed. An adult child may need time and attention from his parent but would often be denied of due to the necessity of the latter to attend to the elderly. The child may also fail to enjoy childhood as certain responsibilities may be delegated to him. More often than not, these responsibilities may be bigger than they can handle. Playtime and socialization may have to be sacrificed on the part of the child, too, and in turn may make him feel neglected. Marriage could also be in danger due to role strain. Attention may be divided and so is care. Partners may feel abandoned and may easily feel envious of the older ones. Financial security may also be questioned as the expenses would be higher.

Asking for Help

Personal feeling of neglect may fill a primary caregiver’s emotion. Since caregivers have to manage allocating time, affection and money, caregivers may feel worn out. This may lead to personal dissatisfaction because of the lack of time for self care.

Caregiver Burn Out

It is important for Caregivers to learn when to identify caregiver burn out.  If the burden is too heavy, maintaining an open line of communication is very important and helpful. Asking for help can minimize the load while allowing the partner to not feel left out.

Where Caregivers Can Get Senior Care Help

Below are a few suggestions on where Caregivers can seek help.

  • Geriatric Care Manager – Specializing in coordinating care and managing care for the elderly.  Hourly rates do apply.  Ask your physician to suggest a good geriatric care manager in your area.
  • Adult Day Care Center – Day care centers are a great way allowing respite care for an aging parent.  Perhaps, your aging mom/dad lives at home with you.  Adult Day Care allows for socialization and care outside the home during the day.
  • Assisted Living Facilities – Licensed to provide senior care services at a retirement community.  Assisted living allows for privacy and gives senior citizens the opportunity to age at a retirement community with assistance.  Assistance of daily living are services provided by a licensed community.
  • Home Care – Non medical home care providers like a nurse registry or companion / sitter organization allows for licensed caregivers to come to the home.  Hourly rates apply to home care for assistance with daily living.  Custodial care services are not covered by Medicare and is considered private pay.

Personal Satisfaction with Caregiving

Caregivers need to remember the importance of taking breaks from caregiving. Scheduling a time for oneself or even some time for children and a partner would render great benefits. If the stress is too high to handle, certain help groups can be found at area churches and nonprofit organizations. Depending on one’s vie,  there are always two sides of a story.

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