fbpixel In Conversation with Consuela Marshall | Home Care Expert Insights

Home Care Expert Insights

In Conversation with Consuela Marshall to Bring Her Insights on Elderly Caregiving

Caring for the elderly is a journey of both fulfillment and challenge. In this role, caregivers find moments of immense joy interwoven with the intricacies of responsibility. It is a path marked by shared stories and comforting gestures, where trust and understanding create a nurturing environment. Yet, amid these heartwarming moments, there are undeniable struggles. The weight of responsibility can often feel overwhelming, and exhaustion becomes a familiar companion.

However, within these challenges, caregivers often discover remarkable resilience. The role becomes a testament to the strength of the human spirit, a journey where kindness and compassion lay the foundation for every interaction. Within this delicate balance, the essence of caregiving is found – a profound connection between the caregiver and the elderly, defined by love, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to providing the best possible care.

To shed some light on the same, we interviewed a home care industry expert to bring her perspective on caregiving for the elderly.

Expert QA session with Consuela Marshall

Who Did We Interview?

Consuela Marshall, a dedicated Family Caregiver Consultant and Occupational Therapist, draws from 27 years of experience in healthcare. She founded Finding A Foothold Consulting Services in 2021 by combining professional expertise and personal caregiving insights. Through individual, group, and employer consultations, Consuela empowers caregivers, offering practical advice on safe home environments, task performance, self-care, and more. Her compassionate approach helps caregivers integrate their role with life, fostering hope and resilience. She advocates for working caregivers’ well-being as a speaker, podcaster, and Certified Aging In Place and Fall Prevention Specialist.

Let’s get started with knowing what our expert thinks of the home care industry:

Question 1: What, according to you, should families do when hiring a caregiver for their elderly?

Families should first take note of the prospective caregiver’s character/attitude. Are they kind-hearted? Do they have a compassionate spirit about them? Then, you want to look at physical abilities and experience, and if they are teachable. All are important, but experience is not always number one for me. (but it does depend on the level of care your loved one requires; if they have high medical needs, then you need specific experience.) But if you only look at experience, many caregivers have bad experiences; they are set in bad habits. If they are kind-hearted and physically capable of doing the job and with common sense, they can be taught to work with your loved one the way you know works best. You can’t teach good character and a good attitude.

Question 2: How can caregivers maintain the independence and dignity of the elderly and their families when providing care?

Caregivers can help maintain the older adult’s independence and dignity and best support their families by learning the abilities, limitations, and desires of that person being assisted and their family. Also, being aware and respectful of the culture of that family is essential. As a caregiver becomes aware of the areas where assistance is needed, it is important to assist only on the portions of a task that are a struggle or unsafe for the older adult to perform. Caregivers should allow for extra time, and families should assist in ensuring the proper setup of the caregiving environment with equipment and the correct layout of the area. Having the proper setup of the home environment is crucial to allowing their loved ones and the caregiver assisting them to safely and efficiently participate in personal care and mobility tasks.

Question 3: How can caregivers prevent burnout and manage their work-personal life?

Caregivers can prevent burnout by NOT treating every caregiving need as urgent. Learning when to say NO, when to postpone, when to delegate, and when to say YES is crucial. When there is a “Yes” in caregiving, and there are so many, learn HOW to do those tasks as efficiently and safely as possible. When you free up time by saying NO and being efficient, you’ll have the time for self-care. Canceling plans to do things for yourself or being so tired that you can’t think of doing anything for yourself will lead to burnout. Don’t get stuck always waiting and wishing you could do things how you used to do them before you were a caregiver. Create new, exciting ways of getting away, having fun, and creating exciting opportunities in your life.

Question 4: How can I help my aging parents from afar?

Family members who live far away from their aging parents can support their loved ones by knowing their loved one’s care needs. This may take talking with doctors, neighbors, and other siblings or taking an extended visit to learn what the true needs of an aging parent are.

Supporting them by managing their finances, scheduling and monitoring doctor visits, cleaning services, lawn care services, and grocery orders is now easy with the Internet. Hiring a caregiver to assist with activities of daily living may also be needed. This can be less challenging through the use of nationally known caregiver agencies. If you do not need a full-time caregiver, start by hiring for the minimal hours allowed by that agency; you can always add time as needed.

Question 5: What advice do you give to new family caregivers?

Pay attention to your needs. Start from the beginning, knowing that you can’t do it all. Seek help and accept offers of help. Connect with other caregivers who can encourage you and provide positive support. Stay connected to your life. Nurture your health, your marriage, your children. Pace yourself; this could be a long journey. Working more and always doing more and more does not equate to loving more.

Final Words

Caring for the elderly is a profound journey marked by love and dedication. It involves simple yet impactful gestures, like a warm smile or a comforting touch, that bring immense solace. Caregivers, through their genuine compassion, create a haven of support and understanding. In their everyday acts, they weave a tapestry of care, fostering moments of genuine connection and comfort.

Caregiving, rooted in empathy, is not just a duty; it’s a genuine expression of kindness. In these natural, heartfelt moments, caregivers make a real difference, illustrating the beauty of human connection and leaving a lasting, positive imprint on the lives they touch.

Want to contribute to our expert insights for the 'Home Care Q/A' series?

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Want to contribute to our expert insights for the 'Home Care Q/A' series?

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