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There’s just something about growing old in the home that you’ve known and loved for years that means so much more than moving into an assisted living facility or a nursing home — which entails giving up a certain amount of autonomy and control. For so many senior citizens, their preference to remain in their homes for as long as possible isn’t something that should be taken lightly – it’s simply what many of us would prefer to happen to us if we were in their position. And at the same time, it’s what many of us would prefer for our own parents, spouses, and loved ones, right? Not to mention, professional elder care can get quite expensive, so keeping your loved ones in their homes for as long as possible is always preferable.
With that in mind, how exactly can you be sure that your loved one is safe in their own home? After all, accidents happen, and depending on their age, they might require extensive at-home monitoring to ensure their safety on a daily basis. If you are unable to be your loved one’s permanent caregiver, then you need to find a way to cover the gaps and close the holes so that your loved one can remain in their home for as long as possible.
In this article, we will talk about 5 important caregiving tips to keep your loved one safe in their home for as long as possible. Regardless of whether you’re a professional caregiver or simply a family member who wants to lend a helping hand, knowing exactly what your role should be during this critical journey will be the main difference-maker for your loved one. Let’s get into some of these caregiving tips down below.
This is an important one because it deals with your loved one’s ability to care for themselves independently. Just how much care do they require daily? Do they need assistance performing basic activities like washing, dressing, eating, etc.? Or, do they require more specialized assistance like taking the garbage out to the street, paying their bills, walking up and downstairs, tending to their home (cleaning, disinfecting, organizing, etc.)? These are all important questions to ask because they will help determine where you should direct your focus and attention.
One of the best ways to do this is to make a list of the daily tasks you frequently help your loved one complete. From there, create a weekly to-do list and then a monthly list. Then, when you’ve finished all three lists, take a look and determine just how much care and attention is required during the day, at night, and throughout the weekend. You can have others jot down some notes as well – maybe you have a neighbor who helps your loved one bring the garbage to the street, or perhaps another family member takes them to the grocery store each week? Have them write down these tasks so that you can keep track of what others do for your loved one too.
From there, you’ll have a more accurate representation of the level of care that your loved one needs.
Caregiving isn’t easy, and it certainly can take a toll on one’s mental state. It can be extremely challenging to manage everything going on in your own life, let alone managing your own, plus someone else’s. With that said, keeping yourself in mind is one of the most important things you can do throughout your time as a caregiver.
You see, we can easily get carried away caring for a loved one simply because we do love them, and we want to care for them. However, sometimes, the level of care they might require might be far too much for us to handle. We need to be sure that we are accurately gauging the level of care they require, and we need to determine if we can realistically provide that level of care without inflicting harm on our own mental state. Remember, emotions play a large role here too, and making sure that your emotions aren’t getting in the way of realism is critically important.
You could certainly experience burnout, which wouldn’t exactly be a good thing for you or your loved one, or you could even develop a health condition – which could be worse. Keeping yourself in mind is always important, so be proactive with your role. When you simply can’t get everything done, ask someone else for help. Have a backup caregiver who can step in when you need a break. However, you can do it, just be sure that you maintain your own health when serving as a primary caregiver.
Another key tip that most family caregivers forget about is that they can always hire help whenever appropriate. This goes back to the previous tip, especially in knowing what you can realistically do for your loved one as their primary caregiver. Sure, you might want to be the only person who helps them out, but can you actually give them everything they require? From time to time, you might have to ask another relative to step in and provide assistance – but you can also hire out for the appropriate level of professional care that your loved one might require.
For instance, you can get your loved ones out and about by enrolling them in an adult day program on the days you have to work. Essentially, these programs are designed to get your loved one out of the house for a few hours each day, where they can socialize, receive services, and spend some time in a new setting.
Additionally, you can hire an in-home care specialist to cover the daily needs of your loved one so that you can return at the end of the day and know that your family member was well-looked after all day long. You can even sign up for a meal delivery service so that you don’t have to cook an extra meal each night. All of these are wonderful ways to keep your loved one safe and protected so that you can take a little bit of the load off of your shoulders.
When you’ve chosen to become the primary caregiver for a loved one – whether it be a spouse, a parent, or even a distant relative, can be a heavy burden to hold – albeit a beautiful and wonderful one.
It is important to instill the same values within every family member to understand exactly how your family cares for and keeps their elders safe and protected throughout every stage of life. A good idea to help carry the weight would be to get the whole family involved in little ways. Sure, maybe you want to be the primary caregiver, but that doesn’t mean that your siblings can’t do something simple and special once a week to help out. Even something as simple as delivering a meal, a weekly phone call, or a visit with the grandchildren can help to give your loved one some sense of normalcy throughout a trying time.
At the end of the day, any type of senior care is expensive. Old age adds up, and new costs come into play that could leave your loved one relying on their savings to pay for basic care. As their primary caregiver, you will likely dip into your own finances to help pay for medical bills, daily expenses, extra care, in-home care, etc. The costs are widespread, and they need to be considered to ensure that you properly manage the costs associated with old age.
There are a number of resources available to help you and your family navigate the costs of in-home care. For instance, there are government and private benefits programs that might cover some expenses. At the same time, you can also take advantage of programs that lower the cost of prescription drugs and medications.
Ask medical doctors, contact local groups, and do your own research to see what’s out there, so that you can make informed decisions that mitigate the financial burden that often comes along with senior care.
Having the willpower to become a primary caregiver for your loved one is an honorable thing – in fact, it’s a beautiful thing. Paying it all back to those who gave us everything means the world to them, and it’s something that you can be proud of.
It might be a challenging road ahead, but with the right tips, tools, and resources, you’ll be able to navigate it successfully. Considering these five caregiving tips, you should now have a better strategy to help ensure that your loved one can remain at home for as long as possible with you by their side.
1+1 Cares by serving as a family’s caregiving concierge. 1+1 Cares is a unique platform that synergizes premium service, qualified caregivers, and affordable rates. By empowering families to make the right decisions, 1+1 Cares makes in-home care affordable and accessible. 1+1 Cares about you.
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