Over half are women and many are children! They’re looking after someone who can’t fully take care of himself or herself. In some cases, it’s a temporary disability.
While, in other cases, it’s a progressive disability like Alzheimer’s disease. In almost every case, the caregiver makes a huge and commendable effort looking after the care-receiver.
When you are providing the most intimate care to an elderly person, they must trust you completely and you must trust yourself. Have faith in your ability to be a caregiver. No one is perfect.
There are no rule books to prepare you for the role. Make decisions based on the situation and perform your role with confidence. It can be frightening, but you have to have the courage to do your best. Most importantly, seek help when you need it!
Learn all that you can about your loved one’s condition. There is a lot of information out there. Many before you have had to deal with the same condition or ailment that your loved one suffers from.
Find information from healthcare professionals, the internet or friends who have gone through similar situations. Knowledge is power. It can guide you and instill confidence.
Furthermore, when you demonstrate that you are competent to make decisions about their care, your loved one will relax and become more compliant with the regimens that you develop.
Body language is a big part of human communication and interaction. Your elderly parent may be visibly uncomfortable or agitated, but unable to express what is wrong. If you take the attitude of “well, if you’re not going to tell me what’s wrong, then I’m not going to worry about it,” you might be missing a critical health problem or care need.
Be sensitive to subtle non-verbal cues. Your loved one’s responses, no matter how simple, open the door for you to more accurately understand what they need, or how much they need.
Even though your elderly parent is impaired, he or she still has an opinion. They can still teach important lessons about life and love. Be willing to learn from your loved one and avoid arrogance that may stem from frustration.
Don’t disregard their opinion without giving it some thought. Take time to consider their point of view. Respond to your loved one as the individual human being they were before they became “the patient.”
You may have taken on the role of caregiver because there was no one else to do it. You got the job whether you wanted it or not. But if it’s yours, commit to it. Don’t view caring for an elderly parent as an obligation.
Approach caregiving as something you do from your heart. Your job is important. You are having a positive impact on the life of another. Caregiving is a selfless act. Make it something you want to do…not have to do. It’s always easier to do something that you want to do.
To learn more, call us anytime at
Caregiver Crisis Line 855-476-7600
and remember, you are not alone.