As your loved ones get older, you may start to notice significant changes in their health and behaviour which can be both upsetting and worrisome. If you’re new to looking after an older person or thinking about taking on the responsibility, you may need some help and advice on how to go about it. Being a caregiver can be both stressful and draining, but also extremely rewarding. This guide will give you some helpful tips on what to consider when you take on the responsibility of a caregiver for your loved ones. Take a look at just a few of the tips below:
1. Consider if it is time to move
While your elderly relative may wish to stay in their own home, it may have reached the point where they are no longer safe to remain by themselves. Although it can be an extremely difficult decision to make, you need to try and get your head around the fact that they will be much safer with 24-hour care in residential premises or a nursing home. It may also have got to the point where they have mobility issues or greater medical needs which are far too much for you to handle in addition to your other personal commitments.
2. Ask for help when you need it
If you decide to take on the responsibility of looking after your loved one by yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. In more severe cases, caregiving can be a full-time job that is demanding both physically and mentally, so don’t be afraid to reach out. You could hire professional carers from the likes of smithlifehomecare.com to take some of the weight off your shoulders and give you a renewed sense of freedom when you have other errands to run. Remember, you’re only human and there’s only so much you can manage.
3. Stay positive
Even when times get tough, having a positive frame of mind will help you push through some of the hardest challenges of caregiving. This will not only make it easier for you to cope in the most stressful situations but will also make your loved one feel more relaxed in your company. However, it can be exhausting to remain positive for long periods and in this instance, you may decide to seek the help of a councillor or speak openly with friends and family if you believe your mental health is suffering. This will enable you to make sense of your thoughts and put strategies in place to enable you to overcome any issues.
4. Assess whether they are safe to drive
It can be difficult for an older person to be forced into giving up driving, but sometimes it is the most sensible decision for their wellbeing. It may have reached the stage that they are no longer safe to do so (if they have developed dementia or eyesight problems). Not having the freedom to drive can make them feel less independent and unable to get out into the local community, which once gave them a sense of purpose. In most cases, they may not understand when it is time to hand over the keys or are perhaps in denial. If you believe they are unsafe on the road, it may be your responsibility to encourage them to quit driving for their own safety.