Most of us hope that we will remain healthy, strong, and independent until the end. As we age, however, many require an extra set of hands and can thrive with an at-home caregiver.
Elders often feel shame when they can no longer meet all of their own needs independently. They feel a loss of independence and may be embarrassed that they are no longer the people they once were. Here are some tips to help your senior loved one deal with the shame of needing a caregiver!
When possible, plan ahead
Having a frank discussion before the need for care arises is the best way to deal changes that have to be made. Making plans for eventualities can help to prevent the shame that may accompany aging. Discuss the different stages that may occur including in-home care to deal with day-to-day needs, medical care, and assisted living arrangements.
Check in regularly
Shame can often prevent a senior from acknowledging their weaknesses and asking for help regarding specific tasks. They may deny the need for help and may avoid asking for assistance. This can lead to inadequate personal care, medical issues, and financial troubles if the senior is unable to manage and no one identifies the issues. Be sure to check in regularly and monitor their progress.
Take it in stages
In most cases, the senior’s ability to care for himself will decline over time. As a caregiver, your responsibilities will likely change over time as well. Seniors may initially need occasional assistance with household matters such as shopping and meal planning. Later they may need daily medical assistance and hygiene maintenance. Taking the assistance needs in stages may help both the caregiver and senior to adjust carefully and gradually.
Schedule regular visits
The elder may feel alone but does not want to be a bother. Encourage family members and friends to schedule regular visits. This may help them feel connected and that they’re still a part of their family. In-person visits will also help the family identify issues that need to be addressed.
Use counseling if needed
Sometimes an elder is not comfortable discussing issues with their friends or family. Contact with a counselor can help senior sort out those feelings and make the transition to his new station in life easier to adjust to.
Growing older is easy for some people, for others it can be more difficult. Acknowledging the difficulties and taking steps to overcome them can make eldercare much easier for the senior, the caregiver, and the family.