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What to Expect When Caring for an Aging Parent or Relative - Hard Truths Edition




The real challenges of caregiving often go undiscussed, likely due to guilt or shame. Working with aging people and their families, we know firsthand that becoming a caretaker to an elderly person in your life is a significant responsibility that comes with its unique challenges and complexities, and we believe it’s important to have open discussions about what is to be expected so everyone involved in care can be better prepared. In this article, we will explore some hard truths about elderly caregiving, shedding light on the realities caregivers often face. Understanding these truths can help you navigate the caregiving journey with greater awareness and resilience, ensuring the best possible care for your loved one.


Assessing Changing Needs.


The type and level of care required for an elderly person can vary widely from individual to individual and may evolve over time. It is essential to regularly assess and re-evaluate their condition, their ability to perform activities of daily living, and their wishes. While talking to folks in similar situations can certainly help you navigate yours, it’s important not to base your expectations of what level of care will be needed on what another’s level of required care looks like. Adapting and adjusting the level of support according to ongoing assessment of the senior person will help meet their changing needs effectively.


The Complexity of Care.


Elderly caregiving extends beyond physical care and comfort. Caregivers often find themselves dealing with financial, legal, and logistical matters as well. These aspects can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with navigating such issues. Seeking guidance from geriatric care experts can save you time, money, and unnecessary stress, providing valuable insights and strategies specific to elder care.


Inevitable Disagreements.


Providing care for an elderly parent or relative can give rise to conflicts within the family. Financial matters and the division of caregiving responsibilities often become points of contention. Recognize that disagreements are a common occurrence and can add to the emotional burden of care. Open and respectful communication, along with professional mediation, if necessary, can help mitigate conflicts and ensure the well-being of all involved.


Respecting Autonomy and Preferences.


As a caregiver, you may not always agree with the wishes of the elderly person you are caring for. However, it is crucial to remember that true caregiving is person-centered. As long as the individual is cognitively capable of making decisions, it is important to respect their preferences and provide care accordingly. This approach promotes their autonomy and preserves their sense of dignity and control.


Gratitude and Difficult Behavior.


While many seniors express gratitude for the care they receive, some may struggle to adjust to the level of assistance required and the loss of independence. It is important to recognize that not all caregivers receive direct appreciation or gratitude from the elderly person. Setting personal boundaries and practicing patience when dealing with challenging behavior can help maintain a positive caregiver-elder relationship. Seek support from support groups or professionals to cope with the emotional impact of such situations.


Remember, your commitment and dedication to providing the best possible care make a significant difference in the lives of your loved ones as they age.


If you are feeling overwhelmed with providing care to an elderly loved one, reach out to us through our website, comment below, or message us on social media (@seniorsteps) and we will set up a FREE call for you with a geriatric care management professional to discuss how we may be able to help you.

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