”Caring For An Elderly Family Member” is a collaborative post. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Always seek advice from a medical professional.
Caring for an elderly family member can be hard. It can take a lot out of you physically and mentally. You want the best for someone that you care about, but it can be hard to juggle giving them the support that they need while keeping up with your own life commitments.
While you will no doubt want to help, there can be a lot of difficult emotions from all sides. Resentment can try to creep into your heart or you family members in dealing with the situation. Many people will find it difficult being so reliant on family members particularly if they have been quite independent throughout their lives. It is common for people to be resistant to having help as discussed in this Mayo Clinic article. They may also feel as though they are a burden or that they are getting in the way of your daily life.
And it can, of course, be very tiring for you. There will be times when you feel frustrated or overwhelmed. And this, in turn, can make the situation much more stressful for everyone involved. You may be putting strains on your work life and your personal relationships.
Admit That You Can’t Do Everything That You Would Like
The first thing that you need to do is realize that although you want to be there all of the time, you physically can’t be. You have your own life to live, and you will need to ensure you are looking after yourself. If you don’t look after your own health, then you will be no good to anyone.
Share The Load
You should share the load with other people in your family. If you have siblings or a partner that can help, it will mean that you are not going to be overstretching yourself. If you can all agree times that you will be able to offer care and support, then this is better than you struggling to be there all day and night.
Hire A Caregiver
Unfortunately, not everyone in the family will be willing to caring for an elderly family member for many different reasons but they might be willing to help financially in the family member’s care. Thankfully, there are plenty of exceptional care companies available that offer home visits. You can use these services to help lighten your load. You will get the support of professionals who are trained in delivering the best care possible. Ask friends and family, or read online reviews to help you find recommendations. Also when hiring a caregiver it is important that they understand your family member’s medicine routine. If they have certain medicines they must take at certain times, make sure the person is qualified and understands the important of these things.
Take A Break
There are plenty of places that offer respite care so that you can take a short break if you need to. Even having some time to yourself at home will allow you the opportunity to recharge your batteries. Consider joining a caregiver support group. AARP has an excellent article regarding finding the best caregiver group for your specific circumstance. Check out eldercare.acl.gov and use the Eldercare Locator (type in your ZIP code) to find your local Office on Aging and other resources or search for caregiver services.
Long Term Care
There may come a time when your resources are not enough for caring for an elderly family member. Their health may deteriorate, and you may not be in a position to offer the level of support that they will need. At this stage, there are nursing homes that can take your loved one in on a long term basis. They will get round-the-clock care, and you can still visit as often as you like, and give them plenty of emotional support. End of life care is also important and hospice care is an opportunity to let your loved ones get the best support necessary and ease their pain. Every need will be cared for, and you will be able to rest, knowing that they are in safe hands.
It is very difficult watching family members go from once maybe taking care of you as a child and now you are taking care of them almost as if they are a child. This is especially true when your loved one suffers from a medical, whether mental or physical, condition as well. No one has superpowers to do this alone. Seek help from family, insurance, and government agencies. Seek guidance from online or local support groups. And seek time to rest and rejuvenate because like my mom has always said, “It’s really hard to take care of others, if you don’t take care of yourself.”