Are you struggling with the idea of becoming the primary caregiver for your senior parent or loved one? You love and cherish them. You appreciate everything they sacrificed. Yet, you may be unable or unwilling provide hands-on care for them as they become elderly, and that’s OK.
Over the last several decades, life expectancy in the U.S. has continued an upward trend. Medical advances mean that certain ailments are no longer an immediate death sentence. Yet aging affects all of us, and our elderly family members may no longer be able to care for themselves independently. You may notice certain red flags from your senior loved ones, like forgetting to take their medications or neglecting their personal hygiene. You may wonder if it’s time to bring them into your home, even as you dread the scenario. We’re here to tell you that you’re not alone.
Common caregiving challenges
Not all caregiving situations are equal. Every situation is unique, and you may discover certain challenges will make you reconsider your role as a caregiver:
You’re the only caregiver available. If you were an only child, or if your siblings either cannot or will not participate in a parent’s care, you may be taking on a task that’s bigger than your abilities. Caregivers may discover they cannot leave their homes for a quick grocery run or a fun night out because their loved one is no longer safe staying home alone. There may be physical barriers as well, especially if your loved one needs assistance using the toilet or bathing.
Your job or family commitments conflict with a caregiving schedule. They call it the “sandwich generation” because middle-aged people can find themselves surrounded by loved ones who need them, including elderly parents and minor children and grandchildren. It can be difficult to offer the necessary care to both sides of the sandwich.
Certain jobs can also make it impossible to be a full-time caregiver. If your job requires your physical presence on site during the work week, you may have to choose between caregiving and a regular paycheck.
You don’t have the patience or professional knowledge to provide appropriate care. Some elderly parents require more than meal preparations and a place to sleep. They may require regular medical treatments or supervision. Caregiving can be difficult, even within the best relationships. If your loved one is experiencing dementia, for instance, you may become frustrated with your inability to communicate well. If your loved one requires constant oversight, you may not be able to sleep through the night without an interruption. It may be time to admit that your loved one needs more care than you can provide.
Finding suitable senior care
Some elderly people can remain home with regular professional caregivers who come in to provide medical care, hygiene assistance, companionship or help with meals and other household tasks. Others may need a more supportive environment within a facility staffed by people who understand their needs and are trained to address them. Choosing a care arrangement can be intimidating, especially if this is your first experience with senior care. Let the experts at Senior Living Advisor assist you with this important decision? We are a multi-disciplinary team who listens to your concerns and helps you develop an appropriate care plan, whether that means in-home care or care within a senior living community. We’ll accompany you on visits to potential new homes and work to address any concerns you might have.
Don’t feel bad if you’re not ready or able to be a hands-on caregiver. Reach out to Senior Living Advisor, and we’ll help you with the difficult tasks, so you can concentrate on loving your favorite senior.