Taking care of a senior citizen can be extremely difficult, stressful, and at times upsetting. If the senior you are caring for is a family member or someone you love, things can be even more complicated. Being a caretaker is often a thankless job and sometimes your own self care falls to the wayside. Whether you are new at this role or it’s something you have been doing for a while and would like to get better at, here are 3 tips for taking care of a senior family member.
Have Conversations With Them
Oftentimes, when a senior needs full or even part-time care, it is because of an illness or injury. Many seniors develop dementia or Alzheimers which can make daily life very challenging for them, especially without any help. Even if the person you are caring for is having issues with memory loss, it is important for you to continue to have conversations with them. Not only will this help to keep their spirits up but it can also actually help to slow the progression of the disease in some cases.
For example, if you are caring for your grandfather who worked in freight unloading services before he retired and he really loved his job, consider striking up a conversation with him about his favorite things about his career. He will likely be happy to tell you all about it, and small conversations like this will be fulfilling for both of you.
Remember To Take Care Of Yourself Too
Taking care of a sick or elderly family member can be emotionally and physically exhausting for the caretaker, and a lot of time their own personal needs end up getting put on the back burner. In order to avoid this happening to you, remember to take care of your own needs. Putting yourself first when possible will actually benefit the person you’re caring for because you will be a better caregiver if your own needs are met first.
Take time to rest, explore your hobbies, and spend time with friends. As they say, put your own oxygen mask on first before putting it on others.
Ask For Help
Because being a caregiver is such a tough job, there may be times that you feel like you cannot handle it all yourself. Don’t ever feel shame in these instances. Instead, call on others you know and trust to help you out. Splitting up the workload will make it all feel so much more manageable and will also give you a mental break when you need it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or a licensed professional. In the end it will end up being in the best interests of your elderly loved one, which is really what the whole point of all this is.
Taking care of a senior family member is never easy, but it is so important and commendable. Hopefully, these tips can help make life a little smoother for you, and in turn your loved one!