Sudden Changes: How to Become a Senior CaregiverPosted By HarborChase on June 22, 2023
Life can be unpredictable, especially when it comes to an individual’s aging journey. No matter a person’s age or health history, it’s always best to understand that anything can happen.
It can seem overwhelming if you find yourself having to quickly step into the role of a family caregiver. From caregiving resources to understanding your own abilities, there’s a lot to consider – before, during, and after – you accept this responsibility.
At HarborChase Senior Living, the attentive associates throughout our assisted living communities take respect, dignity, and quality of care to heart. We’re sharing strategies and tips to help you become a senior caregiver for someone you love and adjust to this new role.
Do Your Research
The best way to begin this journey is to educate yourself on the health needs of your family member. For instance, does Mom have mobility issues, or does Dad have a health condition you need to assist with managing? Not only does this give you an idea of what to expect, but it can help you gauge the type of recovery plan or caregiving plan your parent or loved one will need moving forward.
Be sure to communicate and collaborate with their doctors and medical professionals. Ask questions regarding their health, medications, etc., and ensure you feel confident and knowledgeable about what is shared.
Time management and organization are essential as a family caregiver. If you’re also balancing a career, a family life, or other responsibilities while caring for your loved one, creating a set routine and schedule can help you plan and stay organized.
“You likely have a lot on your to-do list, so now isn’t the time to try to keep track of everything in your head. Create a family calendar so everyone knows what’s happening, and use it to track activities and doctor’s appointments. If possible, ask siblings to help out, and make a schedule that includes everyone (WebMD).”
This can help you understand each responsibility or task and who is handling it on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This can eliminate feelings of stress and reduce the challenges you might face.
Everyone experiences feelings of stress or burnout, and with caregiving, it’s a widespread occurrence. The responsibility of caring for a parent or family member – on top of other commitments – can weigh a person down.
However, taking care of your health and needs is important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent caregiver burnout. “Caring for yourself is one of the most important—and one of the most often forgotten—things you can do as a caregiver. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will benefit, too (caregiver.org).”
Recognize When Support is Needed
In any situation, having a helping hand or support system can make all the difference. This is especially true when it comes to caregiving, as the process can take quite a toll on the emotional and mental health of a caregiver.
When you feel overwhelmed or pulled in too many directions, reach out to family members or trusted friends to see if they can provide assistance. For instance, try to develop a schedule in which others have specific days to contribute by:
- Driving your parent or family to appointments
- Running helpful errands like grocery shopping or prescription pickups
Assisted living communities can also provide help and support in many different ways, especially if you are no longer able to provide the care your loved one needs and deserves. If this is the case for you, it’s okay. Recognizing that your loved one requires more assistance than you’re able to give can make things much easier in the long run.
HarborChase’s assisted living communities provide compassionate care, luxurious amenities, engaging programs, and the helping hand your loved one needs in order to thrive and grow.
We invite you to find a HarborChase community near you and celebrate senior living with us.