For caregivers, learning to provide quality care to the elderly is an ongoing process. Even after hours of training, caregiving remains a fluid process within which things will always change and adapt.
The elderly need extra care, emotional and mental upset can rise and fall quickly, and confounding factors such as cognitive decline or dementia make it complex to connect effectively.
As caregivers constantly learn to offer better care for their older adults, know that it is an ongoing process to which caregivers must dedicate themselves fully. Amidst providing care, in-home caregivers experience burnout, for which families assist them in striking a work-life balance.
To shed some light on the same, we interviewed a home care industry expert to bring her perspective on helping caregivers provide excellent senior care.
Who Did We Interview?
Robin Weeks is a caregiver supporter, corporate consultant, executive coach, and founder of a mission to liberate family caregivers from occupational stress, overwhelm, and burnout. She’s been into business and experiential learning for over 20 years.
She believes in flourishing in your caregiving role, finding strength, reclaiming time, and creating balance as a family caregiver. Her PATH coaching helps align mind, body, and spirit, assisting caregivers in their role.
Let’s get started with knowing what our expert thinks of the home care industry:
First, talk with all the family members to help everyone understand what a hired caregiver will provide and how the primary caregiver will continue doing tasks and care. (This is assuming someone has researched the best agency). Gain a clear understanding of how many hours and what tasks and costs are involved, so that family members don’t assume this relieves the primary caregiver of all duties.
Talk about who will manage the hired caregiver and ensure things are working. Where will the funds come from to pay the outside caregiver? How many hours and days will the caregiver need to work?
All these tips will help you find the right caregiver for your older adult.
This depends to some degree on the older adult’s cognitive function level. In health care decisions, be a partner, not a parent. Role reversal is widespread and often very demeaning to the older person. Find ways to share their history, accomplishments, and stories and keep them engaged beyond Bingo and silly games.
If they live in their own home, work with them to make it safe. Refrain from assuming you know what is best, respect their abilities to make some decisions still, and partner with them. The most resistance comes when the caregiver steps in and starts making all the decisions without talking with the older person.
This makes them feel insignificant and less able to do other things. Keeping them engaged with their daily life decisions can sustain their independence.
I have a webinar called Holistic Well-Being: How to Combat Caregiver Stress. There are seven areas of life in which we look at how a caregiver can create a well-being plan that will reduce and help them to manage the stresses of caregiving.
It is inevitable to feel stress. Learning the techniques and tools early in this journey will aid in creating a sustainable journey. Sleep is probably the number one problem, and the lack of or poor sleep contributes to many health issues. I also have a session on creating caregiving teams.
We need to remember to look around us to see who has the skills to help.
Many new technology apps help manage and share information with families and medical care staff, and you can even include the hired caregiver. It’s essential to keep that person in the loop.
I tell them to start early, don’t wait for the crisis. Being proactive is my philosophy. My membership program, PATH, is predicated on a proactive approach to counter the chaos of a problem.
While caregivers work well to provide excellent care to the elderly, families must take every possible step to prevent burnout.
Our expert, Robin Weeks believes in taking a proactive approach to avoid chaos. Part of that may be hiring in-home help from a professional caregiving organization. Include them as a part of the total caregiving team, communicate often, set expectations and remain flexible. The more you allow your loved one to be a part of the choice and decisions, the more independent they can remain.
We hope you found this expert Q&A as insightful as we did and had something to take away from it.
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