When a senior loved one is struggling to carry out a job, our first instinct, with all the best of intentions, is generally to step in and take care of it ourselves. But is this really helping the senior – or can it be hindering?
The stark reality is, there is a fine line between safety and depriving senior citizens of the self-worth and purpose that are extremely important for wellbeing.
Dr. Barry J. Jacobs, clinical psychologist, family therapist, and healthcare consultant who co-authored the book AARP Meditations for Caregivers, shares from his own experience in caring for his mother: “With all my best intentions and concerted energies, I mostly succeeded in curbing her independence and squelching her spirit. She didn’t see me as her caring son so much as the overbearing usurper of roles she cherished.”
The following tips can help family caregivers more fully understand the best time to step in – and when to step back:
- Employ patience. Arrange your day to allow adequate time for the older adult to work through tasks at a pace that’s most comfortable. When we are hurried and harried, we are more prone to move in and take over. A small amount of extra time will make an impact in increasing the person’s self-esteem.
- Emphasize the positives. While it’s correct that particular activities might have become too tough to handle independently, identify work-around methods that ensure your loved one can continue being involved in the activity in accordance with his / her specific strengths. For example, if loading clothes into and out of the washer and dryer is difficult, your senior loved one may still be capable of sorting and folding clothes.
- Welcome input. Have an honest, open, heart-to-heart conversation with your family member to express his or her expectations about your part in providing care support. Is the senior troubled with giving up particular tasks of daily life? Exactly what are the most important needs? Companionship as well as other emotional care? Physical needs with ambulation, bathing, and getting dressed? Keeping up the house and yard? Work together to create a strategy in order to satisfy these needs in a way that is agreeable to both yourself and the senior.
It’s likewise a smart idea to examine the notion of enlisting the assistance of an expert in-home senior care provider, such as Inspired Home Care. Frequently, family caregivers become stressed with taking care of housework, meal preparation, running errands, transportation, and personal care needs, leaving little time to just appreciate quality time with the older adult they love.
Inspired Home Care, the experts in respite care in Chicago, offers a full range of customized services to manage all of these needs and so much more, making certain senior loved ones in Chicago and the surrounding areas are safe, while empowering them to remain as independent as possible. Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 to request a complimentary in-home consultation, and strike a healthy life balance – both for the senior you love, and yourself.