Seniors Adapting to Caregiving for Elderly

Jul 1st, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Living with extended family is sometimes necessary.   Sometimes aging family members experience such demanding health issues that shared responsibility becomes necessary and helpful.   A situation of this kind makes for developing some creative and non exhausting means for assisting the person who is ill or disabled.  If the caregiving family members are flexible and willing to offer care, it makes for a potentially workable solution.  

Costly 24/7 care can be out of the question for many.  There are times when a shared living plan among the able/caregiving family members can work. The most important benefit is that caregiving does not fall on any one person’s shoulders; it is shared among family members who volunteer.  In the scenario SCJ presents here, they all live together and create a new definition of assisted living.  For the most part, it takes discipline for all involved. A sense of duty, humor, shared ethic for accomplishing the things that must be done remains the top priority.  This can be accomplished, providing there is sufficient space in the home of the one receiving care, or in a nearby dwelling of one kind or another.   

To be sure, when there is a brief respite, allowing for time apart, that becomes a welcome relief.  No 24/7 living arrangement, including marriage, survives well without the occasion for a recess of some kind. 

Among advantages experienced in this setting is the opportunity to share kitchen duties. Often this means very good meals that come from the log of recipes available from each family’s stash.  Sharing transportation cuts down on expense for all families in the shared-home.  While each involved may have their own vehicles, sharing can be both fun and expense reductive. Thorough house cleaning days allow for the domicile to be kept in good order and well appointed, again a task shared by all caregivers.  As for the need to have common entertainment, the household may need to have more than one television set, providing both for different choices and reduced noise. 

Beyond the question of occasional conflicts, it is possible to achieve an extended family ethic which contributes to meeting the needs of everyone.  Buying household goods, groceries, and supplies can be  worked out collectively.  Meeting shared costs, utilities and so on, will need to  be achieved.  Those predictable and necessary agreements sometime require reworking . 

What is critical in a situation of this kind is  that there is housing, which offers some privacy,  for those who are available to assist the disabled/ill person.  This goal is essential and helpful to all who may be tempted to become too physically invested in doing it all.  Caregivers must be cared for so that the person requiring attention can be comfortable and aware that others are meeting his/her and their needs.   

If your situation is moving in the direction of requiring a similar environment, examine it well and carefully.  Take nothing for granted.  Engage in periodic  conversations which introduce any matters that may need clarification.  It can work, not without its occasional ripples, but with emotional and economic benefits available to all.



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