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As it pertains to family, so many people opt to focus on the journey of adding a new member to the family. Caring for a newborn baby is a popular conversation in family caretaking. However, everyone gets old at some point. The conversation surrounding how to care for an older loved one isn’t quite as loud. However, it still needs to happen. If you’re looking for some of the best ways to provide care for an older loved one in your family, consider the following tips.
1. Prioritize a Social Life
Chronic loneliness is truly on the rise. As more people continue to feel isolated, there’s a population that tends to feel it intensely. The older population tends to become forgotten due to their inability to keep up in a fast-paced world. Pay attention to whether your loved one feels ready for in-person visits or phone calls. Try to make sure they have some interaction with another family member or friend each day.
2. Know When to Ask for Additional Support
Some older people only need someone to check in on them every few hours. Others need full-time support. Depending on your capacity, you’ll need to recognize when the job is more than you can handle. Whether you call in reinforcements in the form of family members or friends, you can get the help you need. You will want to look into excellent senior living in Clarendon Hills or your particular locale to find a place where your loved one feels like they are at home.
3. Designate Certain Responsibilities to Others
Certain chores like cleaning, gardening and cooking might be too much for some people as they age. If this is the case, delegate those responsibilities to others. When you’re the caretaker, you’re in a managerial role. You can take the lead on certain tasks such as cleaning or cooking. However, know who to delegate other tasks to. Even if you’re managing the finances and making sure each bill gets paid on time, set timers and reminders to stay on top of everything.
4. Leave Room for Autonomy
As an individual gets older and needs more help, there’s a loss of autonomy. This can provide its own share of grief. Find interesting ways to provide your older loved one with some autonomy. Certain gadgets like smart watches can help facilitate communication as you let them have alone time. They can easily call if they need to as they enjoy some time alone.
5. Encourage Cognitive Development
As you age, your mental cognitive skills decline. Unless you’re intentional with your ability to strengthen your mental skills, you’ll lose them rapidly. One of the best ways to help an older loved one remain present and sharp is by encouraging them to utilize their cognitive skills and increase their development. Fun activities like puzzles, reading or learning any new skill can help to improve cognitive flexibility.
6. Talk to a Therapist
Depression is common among the older population. As they get to the end of their life, it’s not uncommon to dwell on regrets and past hurts. It’s also hard to watch older friends and loved ones pass away. It gets hard to regularly grieve friends as they pass away in the older years. Find a therapist who your loved one can talk to. A healthy safe space to process emotions is important.
7. Always Remain Patient
Patience is truly a virtue to develop during this season of life. When an older individual suffers from aches, pains and chronic diseases, they’re not always the most pleasant to be around. While they don’t have a right to be disrespectful, try to filter their unpleasant disposition as a result of their discomfort. While you can have a conversation about healthy boundaries and respect, do your best to exhibit patience for their shortcomings as well.
8. Indulge in Their Favorite Activities
The older years are considered the golden years for an individual. They’re meant to be savored and enjoyed. During these times, encourage your loved one to enjoy their favorite pastimes. If they love to travel and can physically do so, take them on a trip. If they love to enjoy Bingo nights at the local community center, make sure they get there on time. Find television shows, physical activities and fun hobbies they can enjoy.
In the same way you’d give yourself grace when you’re trying something new, you need to do the same as it relates to your caretaking skills. Understand that this is a challenging road to walk. As you care for your loved one, always remember to care for yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to show up for anyone else. By implementing these tips and prioritizing your needs, you’ll be able to provide the best care possible.