Millions of older adults can’t maintain their independence without the assistance of a caregiver. Caregivers are professionals who help seniors with routine tasks like shopping, bathing, dressing, and managing medicines, and dressing. There are no denials that caregivers provide companionship and emotional support for the care recipients.
The need for caregivers is growing along with the aging of the US population. The support of a caregiver allows recipients to retain their quality of life & independence, have less depression, avoid institutionalization, and self-manage chronic conditions better. Additionally, they also encounter burdens and stress.
Caregiving has been a public health concern since it may lead to psychological, emotional, and financial strain. Providing personal care may help with behavioral issues, which are often stressful, leading to anxiety and depression.
Supporting those who provide care has become a need of the hour. Families and seniors may help caregivers run errands, provide emotional support, and negotiate times to check on them.
To shed some light on the same, we interviewed a home care industry expert to bring her perspective on supporting caregivers to light.
Who Did We Interview?
Joy Loverde is a best-selling author, family caregiver, and keynote speaker specializing in the homecare industry. Her most popular collections include “Who Will Take Care Of Me When I’m Old?” and “The Complete Eldercare Planner.” Joy has had National Television & Radio Media appearances, including the Today Show, ABC NewsNow, CBS Early Show, National Public Radio, and many others.
Let’s get started with knowing what our expert thinks of the home care industry:
Family members can convince their elders to accept outside help from a professional in-home caregiver in various ways. One approach is to explain that it is you who needs the help.
For example, you can say, “Dad, I’m really busy at work and having a tough time managing my work responsibilities and caring for you at the same time. I don’t want to get fired from my job. If we hire someone who can supplement some of my time here with you, it would be so helpful to me. Can we give it a try for one week?”
There is simply no way to get around this one. Family members must visit their elders in person occasionally to see for themselves if additional assistance is needed.
Look for tell-tale signs by asking yourself the following questions. Are they having difficulty going up and down the stairs? Are they able to manage grocery shopping and cooking safely? Are they eating nutritious food or surviving on junk food? When was their last dental appointment? Are there piles of unopened mail? Take a drive with them. Are they able to drive safely? Are they becoming increasingly forgetful? Do they have a system for managing medications correctly?
Far too often, family members learn the hard way that doing everything for their elders can quickly result in caregiver burnout which, in turn, compromises quality care. Instead, family caregivers are better off delegating some of the eldercare tasks at hand. Ask siblings and volunteers to pitch in.
Hire professionals to clean the house and do laundry. Use on-demand driving services. Buy items online and have them delivered. The bottom line is to ask for help and get good at delegating.
You may have encountered the phrases “parenting your parent” and “role reversal” somewhere along the way. Neither of these mindsets belongs in a relationship between a parent and an adult child. While we may carry out caregiving tasks that mimic parenting (feeding and changing diapers), our parents are forever our parents and never our children.
Family caregiving is never easy, especially when we are caring for our mother or father. As they begin to lean on us for help in new and different ways, we grieve the loss of who they once were (or we wish they were). Those days are gone forever. Regardless, your parents remain your parents to the very end, and they should be treated respectfully.
Much of what you do as a caregiver will go unnoticed, unappreciated, and under-discussed. Disappointment, loneliness, and feeling sad come with the territory. Your circle of friends may shrink, and family members will find excuses to keep their distance from you and the eldercare situation. Be willing to get help if you become increasingly depressed.
Don’t quit your job. To juggle working and caregiving responsibilities takes forethought and planning. If your workplace offers employee eldercare benefits, use what your company provides. Seek legal and financial advice. My book, The Complete Eldercare Planner, has many low-cost and no-cost resources.
Caregivers are indeed a critical part of a strong society. They offer support to those who need care, contributing to the fabric of the overall community. After all, these resilient communities rely on one another, trust one another, and help each other through tough times. Their quality care reminds us of how crucial their care is for the collective well-being.
Our expert, Joy, believes in recognizing what leads to caregiver burnout and taking steps to support caregivers in the best possible way.
We hope you found this expert Q&A as insightful as we did and had something to take away from.
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