Seniors located in Lake Forest along the lakefront through Evanston to Chicago are being cared for by their spouse and other family members. The perfect time for people to reassess and reset their roles in life is in the New Year. Relatives do not typically plan to become caregivers for their parent, spouse or family member, but they often times find themselves jumping in to help when needed. People start helping their senior family members when the senior experiences a medical emergency, a diagnosis of an illness, a fall or if the senior is no longer able to live safely on their own. Sometimes family caregivers do not know how much responsibility comes with the job of being a caregiver or realize how long they will need to help out.
Due to the immediate response of family members jumping in to help the senior, the elderly spouse or adult children have to face tasks they are not comfortable with or trained to do. Eventually, they may find themselves in a position where they are juggling their personal lives with helping the senior, and they do not have any time to take care of themselves. This can cause the spouse or child to feel burnt out or get sick.
Family caregivers can become physically, mentally and/or emotionally drained while providing on-going care for their elderly loved one. This can cause the family caregivers to become less effective as a helper and could cause them to become ill.
It is very likely that a senior in need of help will refuse care, especially from someone they are not familiar with. It is great when a family member can step in to help, but there needs to be a balance for the safety of both people. Families can hire a homecare agency that will provide a caregiver to relieve some of the responsibilities of the spouse or child, which would allow the family caregiver to have a more balanced life. Caregivers provided by a homecare agency often times become part of the family once the senior has gotten to know them.
Maybe it is time to consider asking friends, relatives or neighbors to help out. It may require some trial and error to determine who would be the best fit to provide care for the senior. Maybe it will require multiple people, each assisting the senior with something the person is good at. For example, maybe a caregiver or friend can hang out with the senior during the day to assist with transportation to appointments, while the child provides care for the senior parent after work hours assisting with cooking dinner and bedtime routines.
Family caregivers should look and see if there are support groups in the area to join. Support groups will listen to comments and concerns and provide suggestions to assist going further. It is nice to be able to relate to others that are going through similar situations, and it is comforting to know that other people are working through challenges as well.
Additionally, there are online trainings to enroll in that can help family caregivers feel more prepared to do the job. For example, enrolling in a first aid course provides people with important information should they encounter any emergencies. Seniors are a fall risk, so knowing what to do when a fall occurs could save an elderly person’s life.
This year, determine what can be done to make the job of being a family caregiver a more positive experience for all caregivers involved.
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