Caregiving Challenges - Day to Day Considerations

Caregiving Challenges - Day to Day Considerations

Elder care provides a number of unique opportunities as well as challenges to adult children, family members and friends. Challenges to providing in home care may range from the physical to the emotional to the mental.

You may be physically fit, but mentally unable to provide special care for an individual diagnosed with late-stage Alzheimer's disease. Or, you may be emotionally and mentally able to care for the needs of an elderly person, but be physically weak in body, which may lead to less than quality of in home care and as such safe care for your loved one.

Understanding the unique challenges that face in home care givers today will help you make educated, safe and effective decisions regarding care for your parent, grandparent, or other elderly loved one.

More people today are providing in home care of elderly relatives rather than placing them in long-term care or nursing facilities due to increasing health care costs. However, the convenience of caring for an elderly person in their own home, or moving them into yours, should always be balanced with safety and quality care.

Caregiving Challenges - Physical

If you're a 125-pound middle aged caregiver to an elderly parent who weighs more than you do, you may regularly face physical challenges to providing safe and effective care. The same goes for a physically strong person who must continually care for even frail individuals who weigh 100 pounds or less. For example, the strain of transferring, lifting, turning and helping with the physical needs of an individual incapable of bearing part or all of their own weight is difficult even in the best of circumstances.

Adult children providing in home care of elderly parents should take the time to attend training sessions on the proper lifting, turning and transfer techniques that will not only protect their own back and shoulders, but will ensure the safety of the senior. Dressing an individual who is partially or fully paralyzed or caring for their hygiene or toileting needs is physically demanding, and may place additional physical strain on the caregiver. Adapting the home environment to facilitate such needs is recommended, not only for the safety of the senior, but the health and well-being of the caregivers.

Adaptations such as grab rails, non-skid rugs and toilet risers are just a few of the items that can be installed in a home environment to make the job of caregiving a little easier. Talk to professionals in nursing centers or long-term care facilities or your local medical supply store regarding adaptations that can make your caregiving efforts more effective and reduce the risk of injury.

Caregiving Challenges - Emotional

Seniors are often frustrated and angry at their inability to do what they used to do. Some medical conditions such as dementia may also cause behavioral changes. Your mild and soft-tempered mother may now routinely resort to insults or name calling.

Your father, always independent, may bristle that he can't remember how to fix his own breakfast.

Caregivers must be aware of the emotional changes that many seniors endure, and which are often mixed with feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, and depression. Many seniors become demanding of your time because they're lonely, anxious, or increasingly worried about losing their independence. Dealing with phone calls, complaints, and at times, tears and begging may become a normal part of your daily existence.

Research and try to understand the many ways in which emotional and behavioral caregiving challenges may hamper your efforts to provide timely and efficient care for your loved one.

Caregiving Challenges - Emotional

When caring for seniors diagnosed with dementia such as Alzheimer's, or neuro- muscular conditions such as Huntington's or Parkinson's disease, you may find yourself startled, worried, and even grief-stricken at their inability to feed themselves, take care of their daily hygiene needs, eat, or even remember who you are.

For in home care adapting the home environment for their safety is your primary concern. You may be required to place signs or notes throughout the home environment to remind your parent where the bathroom is, or help them brush their teeth, prepare their meals, and by removing or locking up items that may endanger their safety. Be prepared to do whatever is necessary to provide for their safety.

Conclusion

Providing in home care for a loved one can be an extremely rewarding experience, but if you provide care for an elderly loved one, do yourself, and them, a favor by reading about or discussing possible changes and requirements in their environment and schedules that will help you overcome the care giving challenges to providing in home care.

For information on the Emotional Challenges of Caregiving please see the PDF document at The Emotional Challenges of Caregiving

Family Conflict - A Discussion

Family Boundaries - Setting Expectations with and Aging Parent

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Caregiving Challenges back to In Home Elder Care

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