With age, comes abundance in all areas of life, except for health. Many people are lucky enough to enjoy good health throughout their life, but there are millions of people who experience a severe deterioration of health as they age and enter their elderly years. One of the most common health concerns for the elderly is Alzheimer’s, dementia and other diseases of the nature that target mental health more than they target physical health.
Alzheimer’s is one of the most erratic disorders and can take a toll on even the strongest individuals. Although there is no set age or guarantee whether one will be or will not be diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s in their elderly years, it is certainly a heart sinking feeling to find that your parent has been diagnosed with the condition.
Many people opt to put their parents in nursing homes in order to manage their own life alongside the treatment, but this doesn’t always need to be the case. It is not easy but it is highly possible to become a caregiver for your parents, regardless of whether you have a busy life or not.
Understand That Your Parents Need You
Parents are responsible for the fact that you were able to learn and understand basic skills, such as talking and walking, and for other factors, such as ensure that you received education, etc. Thus, it only makes sense that you should return the favor when you see that they need help with even the simplest of tasks in a day – sometimes they will even require assistance to walk till the lavatory.
At this point in time, it is crucial that you take care of them and make some time for them in your busy schedules. If you have the will to do so, you will not find it as difficult as you would if you think of it as a burden or as an additional task in your already busy day.
Tons of Material to Learn From
Several people forgo the opportunity to spend the last years of their parent’s lives together due to the common yet rash belief that they would not be able to be better caregivers than those at nursing facilities. This is not true at all. An aging parent will never choose to be placed in a nursing home amongst strangers rather than with their own family and children whom they trust blindly.
Instead of placing stress on them, learning how to become a better caregiver can prove to be a much better option and allows the parent to have peace in their waking hours. Pamela D. Wilson, the founder of the Care Navigator, has plenty of material available on her website. She is also the author of a book called, The Caregiving Trap: Solutions for Life’s Unexpected Changes.
Also, keeping in mind their state of health, you can keep your parents energetic and feeling young by designing a workout routine for them. This doesn’t take a personal trainer or much experience in the fitness industry, just a basic understanding of bodily movements and researched exercises for those over 50. Try using their home or yours as an opportunity to perform these exercises. Chair exercises for seniors are a great way to get started and to enhance their mobility and natural energy during their aging years.
Make the Best Use of Technology
Advanced technology and IT systems certainly bear the potential of disrupting the caregiving industry. Caregivers and patients can potentially benefit from automation and digital systems which are designed to serve an array of purposes. In fact, it is highly endorsed by AARP in the United States and can especially help caregivers who are looking after seniors suffering from chronic heart conditions, diabetes, arthritis, dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc. GPS technology can be used to monitor the whereabouts of a senior individual. These devices can be worn by your parents easily on the wrist or attached to clothing. A caregiver can be imminently notified if the patient enters a restricted area. Another example is Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), the devices which can be easily worn by your parent(s) and with an easy of a button, any unit or person can be called over in a case of emergency. Plus, there are many apps like MedMinder which can sound an alarm every time a patient is required to take a medicine or if they forget to take, the app would remind you, the caregiver.
Join the Caregiving Community
No matter which part of the world you reside in, there are caregiving communities built for the purpose of offering better care and love to the elderly. If you join the local community in your area, you will be able to understand how many different people are going through the same thing as you, and how you can deal with the stress factors of this duty better.
It’s a fact that caregivers are often expected to give up everything in their life in order to take care of their patients. However, if you happen to be a caregiver for your own parents, you can easily divide the duties between yourself and a trusted family member as well to make things easier.
Taking Care of Yourself is Important Too
Many people tend to forget about themselves in the process of taking care of others. However, due to the nature of the task at hand, it is crucial that you take adequate care of yourself in order to ensure that you do not experience caregiver burnout at any point during this. Joan Lunden, the spokesperson at A Place For Mom, offers some exceptionally useful material devised for the purpose on her blog.
They even have a helpline that you can call at any time of the day, so if you feel too stressed out or overworked, you can easily just find a nurse for a set period of time, until you feel that you can get back to taking care of your parents on your own.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
A large number of people think that they cannot turn to anyone for help and must go through the entire course of action without telling anyone about the struggles that they may be facing at this point. However, even the most experienced and trained caregivers can experience burnout and may need to seek help and assistance from other people to keep their own mind sane and healthy.
It is absolutely alright to let others know that you may be having a hard time dealing with everything on your own. Remember that just because you are a kind and considerate person does not mean that this task will be an easy one. It is absolutely not easy at all to put your own life on hold just to help someone else out in their hardships. However, the payout of your good deeds will be massive.
Furthermore, a lot of people may believe that the best way to care for their aging parents is by hiring a caregiver to take care of them. This is absolutely fine if you choose to do this. You must never feel pressured to do something that you do not have the strength to do. Always ensure that it is a peaceful experience both for your parents and you.
This will help both of you be a lot more relieved in the long run. Also, having a full plan in mind will help you achieve a better end result by going through a plan and following through with all aspects of it. regardless of the drawbacks, provide a fun and loving environment for your parents.