Three Things Long-Time Family Caregivers Think New Caregivers Should Know
In the U.S, there are 34.2 million unpaid caregivers for adults at or over the age of 50. About half of those caregivers are caring for someone with dementia.
These family caregivers typically are caring for an aging parent. The remaining care for neighbors, friends, aunts/uncles, cousins, siblings, and grandparents. On average, these men and women are caregivers for 4 years. Around 15 percent have been caring for someone for at least a decade.
If you ask these caregivers what they wish they knew before they started providing care, the answers are often the same. These are the top three things family caregivers wish someone had told them.
Some Health Conditions Will Stress You Faster Than Others
Family caregivers who are caring for more than one parent may find that it’s easier to help one parent over the other. That’s normal.
Your dad had a stroke. Your mom has Alzheimer’s. Both are devastating chronic health conditions. That said, you may find that one is easier to handle than the other. The stroke is what it is and you know what is needed each day. Your dad is going to need help showering, putting on his clothes, eating his meal, and getting rides to an appointment.
Alzheimer’s progresses at a rate all of its own. Some Alzheimer’s patients have the disease for over a decade, and others deteriorate in a matter of years. You may find your mom in a great mood one day and thoroughly angry and abusive the next. As a result, the things you’ll be doing to help your mom each day often fluctuate.
You Can’t Do This Without a Team Effort
The adage “there’s no ‘I’ in team” is especially true in caregiving. You cannot do this every day and night without help. You’ll burn out if you try. Make sure you’re sitting down as a family and enlisting the help of every sibling, cousin, aunt/uncle, and family friend. Not everyone will have time each week to help, but even an hour or two on occasion helps you in the long run.
It’s Not a Weakness to Realize It’s Too Much
If you’ve been caring for your mom and dad for months or years and are stressed out, it’s time to re-evaluate the situation. Are you really better off providing the care they need? If you’re stressed and get snappy with them or end up in tears when you leave, it’s not beneficial to anyone. It’s a clear sign of caregiver burnout. It’s time to hire professionals who are trained to do this every day.
Be honest with yourself. Can you really handle all of the care that your mom and dad need? It’s okay to need help. Elderly care services are a good way to cut back on the care you’re providing. It’s also a great way to arrange some time for yourself. Call an elderly care agency to discuss respite and other home care services.
If you are considering Elderly Care in Bay Village, OH, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at Four Seasons Home Care today: (440) 716-9100.
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