Taking care of the elderly in our society is a challenging and yet rewarding experience. As a caregiver, taking care of the elderly requires you to be compassionate, kind, and caring.
You should always endeavor to treat the elderly with the utmost respect as they age gracefully. Here is a list of the dos and don’ts that caregivers should observe.
Learn How to Handle Difficult Conversations
Sometimes, you’ll be compelled to engage in tough conversations with your elderly loved ones. For instance, you might be forced to inform your aging parent that you intend to take away his/her driving privileges, or he/she may be required to move into a nursing home.
You need to properly plan how to start such conversations because they can dramatically affect how your parent or grandparent thinks about you. Loss of routine or some level of independence may trigger emotions such as depression and anger.
Act and Speak Compassionately
To most elderly people, lessening independence is a challenging transition in their lifestyles. Caregivers should always attend to them compassionately because the transition is bound to affect them both physically and mentally.
So, even if you have to take away the car keys or suggest the assisted living option, be compassionate.
Always explore other alternatives in order to give your loved one some sense of hope and control. For example, if your parent has to stop driving, consider booking a ride schedule for him or her.
Alternatively, consider hiring a professional caregiver who can provide your parents with in-home care, instead of moving him/her to a nursing home. In other words, do everything you can to ensure your parent feels free and loved.
Skipping Doctor’s Appointments
As your parent ages, his/her health will naturally begin to deteriorate, and with this, it will become increasingly more important to make it to regularly schedules doctors appointments. Therefore, you should always monitor your parent closely and ensure he/she never skips those appointments.
Unfortunately, there is no shortage of diseases that can affect the elderly, and these visits will be vital in catching any early signs of health condition. Thyroid conditions, for example, are extremely common in the elderly, to the point in which the AACE (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists) recommend routine screening for older individuals. If your parent is exhibiting any symptoms of a thyroid condition, or any other condition, the doctor will be able to perform the necessary tests to make a determination and create a treatment protocol.
Feeling Frustrated or Let Down
Many elderly people suffer from different types of dementia. So, in case your parent has a short or long-term memory problem, don’t get frustrated or disappointed when he/she forgets things. Don’t get upset when your parent forgets to pay bills or misses important doctor appointments, even if you reminded them several times. Some will even forget your name or who you are; just bear with them.
Assuming Depression Is Normal
Sometimes, most of the less-talked-about signs of psychiatric conditions are unnoticeable. For example, it might not be easy to notice that your elderly patient has lost appetite, feels nervous, is unable to make simple decisions, or is feeling superfluously fatigued.
Don’t just assume that it’s normal for an elderly person to be depressed. Unfortunately, most people think that depression is directly linked to aging. Regardless of how old people get, it’s not normal for them to be always upset.
It’s also wrong to assume that your parent is taking his/her medication properly. Fascinatingly, some medications may have similar names or simply look alike. It may not be easy for your loved one to remember every single detail the way you would.
Therefore, it’s wise to consider using a pill organizer to separate the medications accordingly. At some point, you may need to supervise them as they take their medications.
Watching an elderly loved one struggle physically and mentally can take a toll on anyone. However, as a primary caregiver, following these tips can help you cope with ease and ensure your loved one has a comfortable lifestyle. If you’re well-organized and patient enough, it becomes easier to avoid caregiver burnout.