As you get older, your family members and those that you love also get older. And while you may feel yourself being more self-reliant as you come into the prime of your life, your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other loved ones are likely moving into a time in their lives where they can’t be as autonomous as they once were. In situations such as this, it may fall on you to become a caregiver to those who cared for you when you were younger. So to help you cope with this new phase in life, here are three tips for caring for your aged loved ones.
Research Their Condition, State, or Needs
Depending on the reasoning why your loved one is needing some assistance, it could be very helpful to both of you if you were to learn more about their condition, state, or needs. According to Carol Bradley Bursack, a contributor to AgingCare.com, learning about Alzheimer’s, physical therapy after a hip replacement, or pneumonia could help you to give better care to your loved one suffering from that illness, injury, or disease. In addition to you feeling more confident in your ability to help, you’ll also develop more empathy for your loved one as your understanding of what they’re going through enlarges.
Learn To Communicate Effectively
When the body ages, certain parts no longer function the way they used to. For many, this means having poor hearing or the inability to effectively communicate certain things to others. If this seems like something that your loved one might be dealing with, Victoria Burke, a contributor to Medicare.com, recommends that you learn how to most effectively communicate with your loved one with communication issues. This might mean ensuring eye contact when speaking to each other, asking simple “yes” or “no” questions, or gently touching your loved one to get their attention before you start speaking.
Be Realistic About What You Can Do
While it’s noble of you to give of yourself, your family, your time, and your finances to take care of your aging loved one, there might come a point in your caregiving where what’s required is more than you can give. And although you might feel that no one can give the type of care you can, DailyCaring.com shares that you shouldn’t care for someone if the tasks are harming your own health. If you’re feeling burned out or are starting to feel like you can’t handle the load that’s been placed on your shoulder, seek out options for help. This might include having another caregiver come assist you a few hours a day, splitting responsibilities with another family member or loved one, or bringing your loved one to a facility that’s better able to help.
If you’re about to start or have just begun caring for one of your aging loved ones, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you along this journey.