Watching your loved one no longer be able to do things they used to do can be a lot to handle. It can be even more overwhelming once you’re handed the responsibility to take care of them. If you have never been a caregiver before, you may have no idea where to start or what protocols to take. Here are some things to consider so both your loved one and you can have a successful caregiving experience.
- Living Arrangements: The first step you should take in providing care for your aging loved one is to figure out where the care is going to take place. If you are planning to take care of them, consider doing so in their home or having them move in. They can also receive care from outside sources and live in an assisted living community or a nursing home.
- Activities of Daily Living: As a caregiver, you’re involved in helping them meet their essential physical and mental needs. ADLs include:
- Mobility and functionality (moving in and out of bed, sitting down and standing back up, drinking water, etc.)
- Getting dressed
- Feeding themselves
- Routinely showering and bathing
- Maintaining personal hygiene (brushing teeth, shaving, etc.)
- Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: IDALs are not fundamental needs of life but are necessary activities for independent functioning. If your loved one can no longer be self-reliant, they may need assistance with the following:
- Paying bills on time
- Cooking and preparing daily meals
- Upkeeping and maintaining their home (routinely cleaning, etc.)
- Running errands (grocery shopping, getting mail, etc.)
- Communicating with others via phone
- Using technology devices
- Keeping up with prescription medications
- Financial Assistance: When your loved one can no longer do things on their own, someone else will have to step in and help them maintain their finances. If you’re handling their finances, you may have to coordinate and pay their bills, look over their insurance plans, and reach out to resources for financial help.
- Safety for Aging Parents: As your loved one ages and loses their mobility, their safety is more at risk. Seniors are more prone to accidents with harsher consequences, so make sure their home is avoidant any safety hazards. You can make your loved one’s living situation a safe environment for them by:
- Clearing rugs, cords, and other obstacles out of walkways
- Putting grab bars in the bathrooms and by the stairs for extra mobility assistance
- Adding brighter lighting in their home with accessible switches
- Moving appliances to be within reach
- Remove the need for using step stools and bending down low
- Obtain an emergency contact service such as Life Alert
Coping as a caregiver of your loved one
- Research and Understand your resources: You can be more prepared for your role as a caretaker by reaching out and learning from your resources! There are a variety of resources out there to help you meet your loved one’s needs such as government programs, local programs, and funding.
- Practice Self-care and Self-compassion: It is common for a child to lose themselves when taking care of their parent and get burnt out. Don’t overbear yourself with responsibilities and know when it’s time to take a break. Remember you’re doing everything you can.
- Maintain Your Physical Well-being: To feel balanced as a caregiver, you have to maintain your health as well. Don’t lose yourself in your responsibilities and make sure you are still practicing healthy habits such as staying active and eating a balanced diet
- Ask for help: Your pride may be telling you that you can do this on your own. However, you need to consider both your loved one’s needs and your own. There are plenty of resources you can reach out to for assistance.
While the components to consider as a caregiver are quite lengthy, taking care of your aging parent can be a rewarding experience. With the right preparation and guidance, you can meet your loved one’s needs without stress and burnout.
1+1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience.