Does your parent or another family member living at home need additional care? Could they use a little extra help with shopping, cooking healthy meals or handling daily tasks? Are they no longer driving and need rides to medical appointments or other activities?
If so, you may be finding yourself becoming a caregiver. If this is new to you, you might be unsure of how to make the logistics work.
Don’t panic. Many adult children have become caregivers and survived. It’s important to recognize that help is available and that you are not alone.
Although this may be your first experience at caring for an older adult, there are steps you can take to help you prepare.
Consider the following suggestions to get you started:
Determine the type of care your loved one needs. If it is extensive, you may want to contact in-home care services or discuss whether an assisted living community might be most appropriate. Understanding what assistance is needed will help illustrate the care required.
Depending on the level of assistance required, you should be able to determine if help is needed for an hour or two a day, part or full time or if overnight attention is necessary. Consider if you can provide this time or if you’ll need additional help.
You may only need to perform daily tasks, such as shopping or help to prepare a meal. But if your loved one requires more specialized care, do you have the skills to assist? Is there training available or service organizations that could fill in the gaps?
Are there other family members available that could help? Is there a neighbor who might be able to check in on your loved one or provide companionship? Create a list of responsibilities and see if they can be divided between all resources.
Don’t forget to expand your search beyond family members when looking for possible care resources you may be able to use. Research local senior centers or adult day programs that provide services, meals and companionship.
Review these suggestions to help you survive and thrive as a caregiver:
As much as you want to help your parent or loved one, you likely also have other responsibilities to juggle, especially if you’re raising your own family or working.
Ensure you maintain enough time to take care of yourself. It’s not uncommon for caregivers to neglect their own physical and emotional health. If you become ill, you won’t be able to provide care for your loved one.
You want to be successful at caregiving but consider what obstacles may stand in your way. Do you live in the same city as your parents? Are you working at a stressful job that requires many hours in a day?
Are you anxious about the responsibilities of caregiving? Check with your local Area Agency on Aging, National Family Caregivers Association or medical team for possible classes and suggestions or tips for how to provide healthy diets, engaging activities and exercises.
Create a strong care team for support. Start a list of all available family members, friends and neighbors that can assist. Look to other resources available in the community.
Match those who can best provide what may be needed, including finding someone to assist with the shopping, preparing meals, doing laundry, light housekeeping, driving your loved one to a medical appointment or providing friendship.
One tip to greatly increase your chance of success while caregiving is to prioritize and organize. There are many tasks that will need to be completed but some will take precedence. Remember to also prioritize the separate responsibilities you have that also need to be taken care of. Do your best and accept that some things will need to wait for another day.
If you’re the primary caregiver, you will need to identify resources that can provide a break for you when needed. Whether it’s time to attend to your own medical appointments, shopping or other responsibilities, it’s important to be able to take a day, a weekend or even a vacation without worrying about the quality of care your loved one is receiving.
If the time does come when the care needs of your loved one become more than you are able to provide, your family may want to consider the benefits that an assisted living community can offer.
Not only will your parents receive the care that they need but will also live an independent lifestyle in their own residence, eat healthy and delicious food, participate in fun and meaningful activities, meet and make new friends and stay physically and cognitively fit with exercises and stimulating pursuits.
As an assisted living community provides for all the care needs of your loved one, your primary role can now return back to being a son or a daughter first – and spend your time enjoying each other as a family.
Assisted living can encourage your loved one to remain engaged and participate fully in life, while receiving the helping hand they may need with the activities of daily living. But we do understand the conversations and decisions can be difficult and we’re here to help.
The role at Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge Assisted Living is to support our residents to live their best life possible. The residences, activities and amenities are tailored to meet their preferences. And the benefits don’t stop there.
Privacy, assistance whenever needed, delicious chef-prepared meals and scheduled transportation are among the advantages we offer. Your loved one will feel right at home in the spacious living suite with its own bathroom and large walk-in shower. Meeting and making new friends with our programs and social opportunities will occur easily.
If you would like more information about assisted living, please download our free resource, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living.
Please call (703) 420-7105 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.