Caring for an aging parent or relative is a role that can be as taxing as it is noble. Being a caregiver to an older person is assumed to mostly entail looking after their physical health and making sure they are safe and comfortable, but there are often overlooked aspects of care that many people find themselves unprepared for. The demand for geriatric care management professionals going up in recent years can be attributed to many folks wanting to reclaim their relationship with an elderly parent or relative outside of providing care, ensure quality care is delivered through trusted resources, and take advantage of all available help, programs, and insurance coverage without having to reinvent the wheel. In our work with seniors and their families, we help caregivers avoid burnout by tackling the most challenging elements of their role, and below, we’ve listed the most prevalent ones:
o Family conflict around decision making and division of labor.
In many families with multiple adult children, one can easily find themselves falling into the role of the main caretaker which can create some underlying resentment and lead to burnout, especially in cases where the elderly parent or relative requires relatively intensive care. Conflict can also arise when family members disagree on key decisions related to finances, helping the senior age in place vs. helping them move into a live-in facility, etc.
o Dealing with challenging behaviors.
Aging parents with dementia or other cognitive impairments may exhibit difficult-to-deal-with behaviors such as aggression, wandering, or refusing care. Caregivers may need to learn strategies for managing these behaviors and preventing them from escalating.
o Managing time and energy and balancing their own needs against the aging parent’s or relative’s.
When a senior starts to require a significant amount of care, it is often seemingly unexpected. They generally start out enlisting the help of adult family members who already have a full schedule with jobs, home responsibilities, spouses, children, and other engagements. Caretaking duties end up being squeezed into said schedules at the expense of self-care and caregivers soon find themselves pouring from a now empty cup with the quality of their help suffering overtime.
o Emotional stress.
Caring for an aging parent can be emotionally taxing, especially if the parent is suffering from a chronic illness or cognitive decline. Caregivers may experience feelings of guilt, anxiety, and sadness.
o Financial strain.
Caregiving can be expensive, and many caregivers must bear the costs of medical care, home modifications, and other expenses associated with caring for an aging parent. Additionally, aging relatives may require help managing their finances, paying bills, and keeping track of important documents. Caregivers may need to help their parent with these tasks or coordinate with financial professionals to ensure their parent's finances are in order.
o Physical strain.
Caregiving can be physically demanding, and caregivers may struggle with the physical demands of providing care, such as lifting and transferring their parent, helping them with personal hygiene, and managing medications.
While the listed above cover more of the “big picture” difficulties of care, caretakers also refer to some more day-to-day challenges, such as:
o Managing medications.
Seniors may require multiple medications, which can be difficult to manage and keep track of. Caregivers may need to coordinate with doctors and pharmacists to ensure their parent is taking the right medications at the right time.
o Mobility and transportation.
Older people may have difficulty getting around and require assistance with tasks such as getting in and out of bed, walking, or using the bathroom. Caregivers may need to help their parent or relative with these tasks or arrange for transportation to medical appointments and other outings.
o Meal preparation.
Aging parents may have special dietary needs or restrictions, which can make meal preparation challenging. Caregivers may need to plan and prepare meals that are nutritious and meet their dietary requirements.
o Personal hygiene.
Elders may require assistance with personal hygiene tasks such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. Caregivers may need to help their parent or relative with these tasks or arrange for home health aides or other professionals to assist.
If you are interested in discussing any matters of aging with a professional on our team, we offer FREE consultation calls every day at 617-405-8796. You can also leave a comment with your question, send us a direct Facebook or Instagram message, or e-mail us at email@example.com. Senior Steps provides guidance and assistance with medical, legal, and financial advocacy and planning, and help with activities of daily living.