Caregiving for your loved ones is exhausting- both mentally and physically, as well as time-consuming. But the reward of satisfaction that comes with caregiving is incomparable and unmeasurable. As parents age, they lose control over their mobility, and face challenges with activities of daily living sometimes due to a physical or mental disability.
If you are the caregiver or want to hire a caregiver, firstly assess your parent’s needs, arrange for medical care and associated services, cover transport to medical or therapist appointments and co-coordinate related issues. That means – caregivers need and should take advantage of all the help and support one can get.
Stress can be harmful to a caregiver’s and senior’s physical and mental health, and can lead to physical ailments, chronic disease, cognitive decline, as well as depression and anxiety. Most elderly people prefer to remain in their homes as they age. By taking steps to ensure that your loved ones are safe and well taken care of at home, are socially connected and are involved in activities that keep them occupied, you can play a vital role in boosting your loved one’s mental health.
Here are some ways in which caretakers and family members can aid in senior care:
Work as a team, and delegate tasks to other family members if you are the caregiver of your aged parents, so that you get valuable insights into what needs to be done. Be realistic about who, how and when a member is ready to take up responsibilities, keeping emergency situations in mind, and recognize someone must in charge.
Recognizing the signs of stress
Common signs of stress in seniors include changes in eating habits-reduced appetite, changes in sleep patterns, memory issues, frequent illness, and social withdrawal. Take steps to help reduce stress to improve their mental and physical well-being.
Bridge the generation gap
Encourage seniors to participate in community activities that bring generations together, or plan a family get together so that grandchildren can spend quality time with their elders and also gain from their experience.
Get involved in activities that allow for creative expression
Encourage seniors to get creative, which is both engaging and mentally stimulating. Yoga, painting classes, physical fitness class, religious gatherings, brain games, or engaging in social work can all be beneficial for seniors.
Make home modifications to improve accessibility and safety
Challenges in movement, gait and other physical disabilities can restrict adult mobility. Make your home safe and more accessible to seniors by installing safety devices.
Plan shared meal times with friends and family
Sharing meals with family creates time for bonding, sharing stories, and provides a greater sense of belonging. Arrange for periodic family and friend’s dinners at someone’s home or at a restaurant to help keep socially connected.
Consider pet adoption for companionship
Pets, especially furry friends are often used as therapy to provide stress-reduction benefits, lifting seniors’ moods and loneliness.
Make use of technology
The use of technology has eased caregiving chores and worries. There are devices that can check your parent’s vital signs electronically, remind a person to take pills, help locate a person who has wandered from home and mobile phone apps provides patients and caregivers with a valuable feedback loop.
Caring for the caregiver
Taking care of caregiver (or yourself) is important so that you can keep up with other demands of your own life. Juggling with the demands of caregiving can take a toll on your health hence maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and finding time for exercise can be helpful. Find ways to reduce stress by practicing meditation, pursuing hobbies that are relaxing like gardening, reading, listening to music etc. Be socially active to avoid isolation and depression.
By Henry Kingston
Henry Kingston is a passionate Health blogger, Loves writing as it’s his obsession. He has written on various topics like health care, non-medical home care for the elderly and about different other aspects of life. Follow @Henrykingston30 for more updates.