It can be painful for family members to watch a parent battle with day to day activities they used to find easy and the situation becomes even more complicated when a mother or father is reluctant to talk about his or her complications. They may worry losing their freedom, they may feel they are becoming a burden or they may simply be reluctant to recognize their need for help. They may even suffer from psychological issues or intellectual incapacity, restricting their capability to comprehend or deal with late-life changes. Luckily, a bit of understanding and planning can go a long way toward reducing the anxiety of a tough senior care conversation.
A good first step to determining how to bring up a complicated subject like senior care is knowing the factors why an aging loved one may want to avoid the conversation. “If your loved one is in need of senior care, he or she is likely dealing with loss, physical loss, psychological loss, the lack of independence,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Accepting care might mean relinquishing comfort and adjusting to new routines. As a result, your loved one might feel terrified and insecure, upset that he or she needs help or guilty about the idea of becoming a burden to family.”
Sadly, one of the most wrenching factors why it can be difficult to talk to a senior parent is when mental sickness or cognitive loss is an issue. A 2012 report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies found that between 14 and 20 percent of American seniors suffer from one or more mental health problems, such as depressive disorders or substance abuse. Furthermore, more than 5 million people in America are living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Organization. The occurrence of these and other wellness issues in the ageing population make it more urgent than ever for family members to take charge of their loved ones’ well-being. It’s important to start by having a sincere and patient conversation.
Being the senior care provider to a parent might not seem like an important problem for some, but once you start to visit with your loved one, care for them and deal with many of the everyday issues that they face, it can become overwhelming at times. Stress is a common element of senior care, for both family members as well as paid professionals. That’s why it is significant to take care of yourself if you are involved in providing senior care. Below are a few tips to mull over that can help you reduce stress and also offer the highest level of care to the elderly individual.
- Set a schedule. If you don’t have a set schedule for when you will visit to check on the elderly patient, then you could easily find yourself visiting more and more, without realizing it until you’re giving up a considerable part of your own life. Set a timetable and keep to it. If things change, if the senior’s demands or requirements change, then you can revert to the schedule again, but set a schedule first.
- Have ‘Me’ time. Too often, family members give up a considerable portion of their life to care for their loved one. They end up putting their own interests on the back burner and this can cause more considerable issues for themselves and the quality of care. So make sure that you allocate time for yourself every week.
- Learn to unwind. When caring for a parent in need, you may end up worrying more about them when you’re not there with them. While you are certainly doing a good thing by taking care of them, unless they live with you, you can’t be with them every minute of the day. Learn to let go and relieve constant worry. You can do this through meditation, yoga, prayer and other forms of self-help and healing.
- Find senior care referral services. When you know where to find qualified senior care services, it will help in the event that you’re feeling beleaguered. Hiring a knowledgeable professional is one of the best ways to help care for yourself while providing senior care.