As a caregiver for an older family member, you want to provide the best level of care possible, which often means jumping in to provide assistance whenever you can. This can be a good thing for safety reasons, but it’s also important to strike a balance between helping and enabling to maintain your senior loved one’s overall wellbeing. Below are five ways you can achieve this goal.
1. Assess Your Loved One’s Care Needs Periodically
If your loved one is recovering from an illness, surgery, or injury, some extra care is expected. Otherwise, periodically determine what kind of daily or routine care is needed. When making your assessment, pay attention to things such as:
• Level of mobility
• Cognitive functioning
• Ability to safely complete regular tasks
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Clearwater families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
2. Check with Your Loved One’s Doctor
Seek input from your loved one’s doctor as you go about assessing care needs. Once you get a better feel for your loved one’s current physical and mental health status, you’ll be more likely to know when to provide assistance and when to encourage independence without feeling guilty.
3. Establish Reasonable Boundaries
Some aging adults are reluctant to ask for help even when it’s needed. However, others may get into the habit of expecting a family caregiver to always be accessible. This may include calls at all hours of the day for mundane reasons.
You certainly don’t want your loved one to be lonely or not have access to assistance. However, it’s just as important to have time for yourself and other responsibilities. Establish reasonable boundaries by encouraging a pursuit of other interests. Also, offer reassurance that you’ll be available for emergencies and regular care needs.
4. Set Up a Care Schedule
This is something you and your loved one can do together with a physical calendar or one that’s accessible online or via a shareable app. List the hours of the day or days of the week when you’ll have sufficient time to provide care. Adjustments can always be made over time and for things like medical appointments. If your loved one needs more assistance than what you can reasonably provide, consider hiring in-home care or reaching out to other family members to fill the gaps.
Your loved one’s care schedule may need to be adjusted if he or she is diagnosed with a serious condition such as Alzheimer’s disease. The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Clearwater Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
5. Encourage Independence
There’s no magic formula when it comes to striking a balance between helping and enabling. However, you can boost your odds of finding a happy medium that’s appropriate for you and your loved one by encouraging independence whenever possible.
You may be able to do this by:
• Recommending transportation services for times when you’re not able to provide rides
• Finding ways for your loved one to be involved while keeping limitations in mind—e.g., taking care of the grocery shopping but setting up the kitchen so your parent can cook
• Doing things together that promote independence—e.g., yoga or exercise classes that increase mobility and muscle strength
One of the best ways you can strike a balance between helping and enabling when providing care to your loved one is to hire a professional in-home caregiver. When researching agencies that provide senior care, families are usually looking for flexible care plans, compassionate and highly trained caregivers, and 24/7 availability. Whether you need respite care to take a break from your caregiving duties or your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, you can rely on Home Care Assistance. To learn more about our premier at-home care, reach out to one of our knowledgeable Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.