– From Linda Beatty, Office Manager and Senior Care Manager
Becoming a caregiver to a family member can be very overwhelming. Your senior may have been just fine up until this point, and now things are changing. Now what?
How do you know when it’s time to step in?
I remember when my grandmother began to show signs she may need some extra help. Her once tidy house and yard began to look a little, well, not up to her standards! There was a scratch in the car. One day she said she couldn’t get the water to stop running. Another day she left the oven on. These are specific things to look out for. When you notice things that are out of the ordinary for your senior, it’s time to evaluate what the best plan of action is. Speak with their doctor to determine if it’s still ok to have them living semi-independently with a home care plan in place. If homecare is an option, you will have to decide if you will hire a caregiver to provide care or if a family member will.
There are endless aspects to consider if you decide to become a caregiver for a senior family member. Here are just a few things to contemplate and discuss with the rest of your family:
Your senior may have been someone you once depended on, and now they will be depending on you. Be sure you are ready to take the time to understand their potential needs such as:
- Physical challenges
- Mental challenges/memory loss
- Doctor appointments
- Meal preparation
If you have decided that you will be the caregiver, know that you do not have to go it alone. Attending doctor appointments and speaking with your senior’s doctor is one of the best ways to get acquainted with these new needs. And, every patient needs an advocate and a second pair of ears! The information you garner from these discussions will assist you in caring for your senior because you will have a better understanding of what health issues need attention.
There are also endless online resources that can provide you with the latest information so when you are in the midst of caring for your loved one, you have something, and someone, to lean on. The Family Caregiver Alliance is your one-stop-shop for everything from caregiver education, to support advocacy. You will learn about innovations in the areas of the needs of your senior and specific conditions your senior may be experiencing. They even have classes and ways to connect with other caregivers.
New dynamics – take care of you, too!
After you’ve decided to become a caregiver to a family member, you will find that the relationship you once had may not have to change, but the dynamics inevitably will. This can still be a positive experience. I know it may not be easy at first, but with the right resources I have faith in you! There may be a psychological and emotional burden (you’re only human!), so do check out the link above and be sure to get the support you need. There are peer support groups for caregivers – and that added understanding can be extremely validating and empowering.
We’re here for you as you navigate through this unchartered territory. We’ve been providing home care for years. We get it! If you find you need help and require homecare services, please reach out. It’s a big job and we are always here to help you.
All the Best,