When You Become the Caregiver
By: Heather Souve
Although we can try just about everything to stay healthy, from exercise to diet and even positive thinking, sometimes the worst can happen and everything we knew is stripped away from us. When that happens to you or your family member, the last thing anyone wants to do is move into a home. Believe us, we get that. We specialize in senior housing and elder care, but we also understand that senior care communities are not for everybody.
Moving a senior, especially one who has suffered from a stroke, memory loss, or heart attack is extremely stressful and it’s why we’re such advocates of getting the move right the first time – because not many can withstand the stress of going through this process twice.
As a result, it’s imperative that we provide with all the tools to move into a senior housing facility when you need to, but not to feel pressured into choosing one. This blog is dedicated to providing you with tips for when and if you become your senior’s caregiver.
When You Become the Caregiver
When family members become the caregivers, nine times out of ten, they’re not ready; you become an impromptu caregiver – caused out of necessity as opposed to desire.
So the first, and possibly most important, tip we can give you is to accept the fact that you did not ask for this. It may seem shocking to some, but you need to accept this and admit it to yourself; you didn’t ask for this and it will be a burden, but once you accept it, you’ll find the strength to, not only provide, but excel.
Talk to Anyone Who Will Listen
This is more therapeutic than most people ever know. Sometimes, talking about something – even if there is no end-goal or solution – is all it takes to feel a little better. It’s especially important with caregivers though because if you don’t talk to someone then you’ll feel like you’re losing your mind. Although your elder may be capable of conversation, your role has changed from loved one to caregiver and because of this there is a great deal of weight placed upon your shoulders.
Keep the lines of communication open and especially at work. Don’t bottle it up because if you need to take a longer lunch to help your parent, most employers are accepting of this – they get it. Talk to them, talk to your friends, talk to your pets – talk to anyone who will listen because it will help.
Put Your Needs First
Again, this may seem counter-intuitive when you become the caregiver, but it needs to be said. If your marriage is on the rocks or your job is unstable or you’re having money problems, don’t let others rule your life. Put your marriage, kids, and job first – then worry about being a caregiver. We’re not telling you to neglect your loved one, but if you have siblings that can help, get them to help; if you can afford part-time in-home care, do it. The main thing is to not let it control your life.
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