If you’re an adult caring for an aging senior, let’s face it: it’s not an easy task. It’s a rewarding, humbling, frustrating, and wonderful task, one that can create a range of emotions as you provide the needed care.
If you’re providing care for a family member so they can continue to live in their home for as long as possible, we offer some thoughts on processing the emotions of caregiving.
- Recognize that it’s okay to be frustrated or sad at times. If it’s a parent that you’re caring for, you may experience emotional times, knowing that each day may be one less day that your loved one will be with you. At times, particularly if he or she struggles with dementia or Alzheimer’s, it may feel like a long goodbye. Working with many aging seniors and our staff of FootPrints Home caregivers, we suggest focusing your thoughts on today alone. What moments can you find to laugh, to share stories, to recognize the beauty in a touch?
- Write your thoughts down. Keeping a journal can help provide an outlet for the emotions you experience as a caregiver, recording the moments of happiness and sadness, joy and frustration. It can be helpful to move these emotions from your heart and on to your journal.
- Resistance and conflict. Often, we find that seniors struggling to remain independent have a good deal of resistance toward those who are there to help. That seems especially true if it’s a family member instead of a home care company’s caregiver. You may be recognizing that he or she is becoming more frail or experiencing health changes. Look for moments where they bring up those changes; it can be helpful to suggest “trying out” more assistance now with bathing or dressing, so that “if, down the road” more assistance is needed, a caregiver will know their preferences.
- Find time for solitude. There may be so many things on your plate, caring for your loved one, perhaps even while you care for your own family or hold down another job, it can be overwhelming. While it can be helpful to keep a list of “must do” tasks, it’s also vital to find time where you can do, well, nothing. Put aside the to-do’s and sit. Rest. Go for a walk. Breathe.
We know how difficult but also how wonderful it can be to provide care for the elderly, particularly when they’re able to continue to live comfortably in their own home. If your loved one reaches a point where more hands are needed, the compassionate caregivers at FootPrints Home Care can step in, whether it’s respite care, regularly scheduled weekly time, or even 24/7 home care. If we can help support you in caring for an aging family member, please give us a call.