Many of us have to take care of an aging relative at some point in our lives. However, that doesn’t make it any easier a prospect. After being taken care of ourselves by those older than us, our parents especially, this complete role reversal is difficult for everyone involved. It’s an incredibly challenging situation that can often cause stress, tension, and sometimes even conflict among families. To make the transition much easier, here are six things that every caregiver should do.
Do Lots Of Research
To effectively care for your relative, you need to have a clear picture of their everyday needs. With that in mind, if they suffer from an injury or typically “elderly” health condition, then you should learn as much about it as you can. This research, though upsetting, will help to prepare you for what may be to come. With your relative’s permission, you can also speak to their doctor.
Make Your Home Safe
When it comes time for your loved one to move in with you, it’s crucial that your home is ready for them. They’ll need somewhere to sleep, which may involve some moving around, as well as safety features around the house, to assist them and keep them safe. You’ll also need to look out for potential dangers, like trip hazards, and work to reduce or eliminate them.
Involve Them In Decisions
After taking care of you most of your life, being cared for can be incredibly hard on your relative. No one wants to feel like they’re losing control, even to someone they love. For this reason, you should give some of their independence back by involving them in any decisions surrounding their care. You must allow them to live their life their way, rather than running it for them.
Learn To Accept Help
When circumstances change, you may find yourself unable to care for your relative on your own. Instead of harming both of you by trying, you should learn to accept help from those around you. If your loved one’s condition has deteriorated, you may find a hospice is appropriate, in which case you can get care here. If you’re not there yet, you may just need a sibling to lend a hand.
Lean On Loved Ones
When someone you love gets sick, emotions are naturally heightened. This, unfortunately, can cause conflict among families, as you all try to decide what is best for your relative. Instead of fighting one another, you should lean on each other and offer support. Arguing will get you nowhere, but talking through your feelings calmly can help to keep everyone feeling strong.
Take Care Of Yourself
When you first become a caregiver, it feels right to put your relative’s needs ahead of your own. After all, they’re the one that needs help. However, if you start to neglect your own health in the process, you won’t be of use to anyone, especially the loved one you’re taking care of. For this reason, you should ensure you continue to eat properly and get plenty of rest.
When you first start to care for an aging relative, everything can seem so difficult and confusing. Hopefully, with the advice above, you can make the transition easier for everyone involved.