Not Everyone is a Caregiver and That’s Okay

Even with its challenges, many family caregivers report feeling gratified by choosing to care for someone they love. It can work out in your favor if you have the means and energy to be a constant support. However, the daily responsibility of providing for and protecting a senior parent or relative isn’t a job for everyone. Some people just aren’t wired that way. And that’s okay.

Caregiving requires certain personality types, physical strength, mental stamina, and being on-call essentially all the time. Depending on your career, family situation, or health conditions, managing an elder’s routine can be impractical at best and impossible at worst. This isn’t to say that families shouldn’t try it, but to give permission to try something else if caregiving doesn’t end up being the right choice for you.

How do I know if I can thrive as a caregiver?

If it’s time to decide on how to care for your senior, here are some things to consider:

  • Your own health challenges: Are you struggling with a painful condition or debilitating anxiety? Be candid with yourself if you can handle a full-time elder care situation.
  • Your work and family schedule: Would you be okay with prepping meals, going to appointments, and eventually offering toileting and hygiene assistance for your loved one, in addition to maintaining a career and other life responsibilities?
  • Other family members: Will you have help from siblings or grown children who can relieve you as needed?
  • Your disposition: Are you easily flustered or frustrated? How much patience do you have when life can be very aggravating? Think about what you can truly handle without having your own health setbacks.
  • Your financial situation: Can your budget accommodate another person or will your elder parent have the means to cover some costs for their care? Look into memory care centers like Avalon for price comparisons based on different scenarios.

 

Note: Caring for an aging parent can get very personal, from getting them dressed to bathing procedures. Many seniors don’t want their child to see them in this vulnerable state, which is why hiring a professional may give your parent a sense of ease that their care won’t embarrass them or make them feel self-conscious.

I’m already a caregiver, but feeling burnout and fatigue. What do you suggest?

Caregiver burnout is real and most of us don’t realize its impact until we’re absolutely exhausted. It not only affects the caregiver’s health, but the quality of care received by your senior. Fatigue can cause serious mistakes, including administering the wrong meds or making errors that lead to falls and other injuries.

Pay attention to these signs, and if you’re finding that you’re barely getting by, it could be time to look into senior living:

  • Feeling completely overwhelmed
  • Being easily brought to tears or a loss of temper
  • Feeling too tired to participate in family activities or hobbies you once enjoyed
  • Neglecting your own health needs
  • Developing a medical condition, like an autoimmune disease or worsened mental health
  • Getting little sleep or low-quality sleep
  • Engaging in alcohol or drug abuse
  • Falling behind on work deadlines or missing important appointments

 

If these symptoms are chronic—versus just having a bad week—our professionals at Avalon are dedicated to helping you and your senior. There’s no harm in having an initial conversation with one of our staff members to see if a senior community is right for your loved one. You can always take some time to think through your options, and we’re always here to answer follow-up questions.

How can I or other family members still help, even if we’re not cut out to be full-time caregivers?

The fact that you’re here, reading ideas that might assist your senior, is already a huge way to be there for them. Keeping up on available resources is something any family member can do.

Here are some additional tips to support your loved one:

  • Visit your senior frequently, whether they’re still at home or living in a memory care community. Many elders suffer from loneliness and boredom, but a visit will completely brighten their day. If they love pets, bring your dog or cat—a smile is 100% guaranteed!
  • Shop for any personal items, clothing, or meals they need. Coordinate with their full-time caregiver as to what should be on the list.
  • Get to know their daily caregivers. This is just as much an act of goodwill as a safety measure. We all want our loved ones to be treated with gentleness and respect. Make sure you know your senior’s general routine and whom they’re interacting with.
  • Be a caregiver for a few hours so that their full-time person can grab lunch, take a quick nap, or run an errand.
  • Check on your loved one’s caregiver to see how they’re holding up. Even therapists and memory care professionals can feel emotionally depleted, especially when they build a bond with the person they’re caring for. Write a thank-you note or bring them a gift basket of goodies to show your gratitude.

 

Caring for your loved one is a noble task, but so is knowing your limits. We applaud you for considering the best route for you and your senior, and doing the thoughtful research. Avalon Memory Care is here to guide you and offer our advice during this complex and emotional time. Please contact us if you need us at (972) 713- 1383 or (888) 522-1918. We’d love to hear your story.

By |2023-01-11T12:15:35-06:00January 11th, 2023|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments