Elder care is a big responsibility that can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Our four helpful tips will give you the tools to regain your calm.
1. Your Health Affects Everything
When taking care of an elderly family member, it’s important to prioritize your own health. Pay attention to your eating habits and be sure to exercise. Allow yourself time to rest. Stretching yourself too thin can jeopardize your health and lead to illness. Your poor health reduces the quality of care that you can provide.
2. Build a Support Network
A broad support network is a vital resource for caregivers. Family, friends, neighbors, or church members may ask to visit or bring a casserole, take them up on the offer. Use the help of professional services like elderly in-home care when you need a break. These people can also be your backup helpers. If something happens to prevent you from caring for your elderly family member, you need to be able to quickly find someone to carry out your duties.
3. Be Aware of Available Resources
Ask your doctor about elder care resources in your community. Locate and tour local senior citizens centers. Contact respite care services for an in-home evaluation. Educate yourself about any benefits they are entitled to e.g. medical insurance, social security, or Veteran’s benefits.
4. Involve them in the Decision-making
Talk to them about what they prefer and what’s important to them. Include them in decisions made about care providers, treatment plans, etc. Work on an advance directive with your elderly family members while they are in good health, so you know you are following their wishes.
The goal is to make the elderly person’s life as fulfilling as possible while attending to their physical and emotional needs. Schedule regular outings to keep them engaged. Listen to them and talk with them. Keep an open line of communication with their health care providers and use respite help so you have time to care for yourself as well.