Providing care for an aging family member can be a wonderful experience, but there may be challenges too. Although each situation and individual is unique, there are a few things you can do to help make the transition into caregiving easier.
Prioritize Important Tasks
Though your aging loved one may have a long list of needs, you may not feel so overwhelmed if you know which areas take precedent. Is his home safe or does he need to find a new place to live? Are there memory issues to consider? Can your loved one need assistance with mobility or transportation? Is she able to cook for herself or will she need meals brought in? Make a list, prioritize it and then tackle first things first.
Bring in Outside Help
Caregiver burnout is very real and can hamper your ability to provide for the health and safety of your loved one. Ask friends and family for help and be sure to take breaks when needed. There are also many professional services available to help caregivers find proper support. Home health agencies Bethesda MD can often help coordinate services such as in-home care, transportation to medical visits and referrals to legal or financial help to name a few.
Actively Seek Social Support
Another important aspect to consider is whether your loved one is getting enough social interaction. Isolation is all too common among the aging population and can have negative effects on health, both physically and mentally. Go visit often and be sure to include your elders in family parties. Other suggestions include encouraging outings with friends or finding appropriate opportunities to volunteer in the community.
Caring for loved ones who are aging is a beautiful act of love, but it may not always be easy. Being prepared with the right priorities, outside help and social support can make a big difference.