SENIORS AND CARETAKING CHALLENGES

Mar 2nd, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Defining the Caretaking Role

When the responsibility for one or another member of your family begins to require more and more time, energy and imagination, it is time to evaluate your role as a caretaker.  Elderly parents will begin to show signs of frailty and failure of ability to cope with daily needs.  You will find yourself more and more aware of your need to be present to theirs.  You will struggle with your own schedule and need to let them know you are there for them.

Reality will push your own situation as well.  You will continue to have to manage your own household and daily routines.  Medical appointments for you and them will continue to be necessary.  Making sure all is well for them in the facility/home in which they reside, checking on their meds, routine needs, etc. will occupy and involve time and attention.

Taking your senior to a mall for an extended walk in a visual environment is always a good way to stimulate interest and activity for elderly loved ones.  Spending time visiting so that their world is allowed to be larger than it would otherwise be helps them to be stimulated.  Taking a joy ride through their old neighborhood encourages them to reminisce and to see what has happened since they moved away.

Caretaking Tasks Help Elderly Loved Ones

Identifying ways to keep them involved with old friends is another way to offer them a chance for an expanded world.  Imagine living in a room in which all of your worldly possessions, what few there are, surround you.  Imagine that the only people you see every day are people with limiting and limited abilities.  Imagine that your contact with the world is relegated to those employees who bathe you, clean your room, care for your medications and other needs. Having variety introduced into daily activities of your loved one, while it puts more demands on you, will be enriching and satisfying to them.

An adjustment factor, which will take on daily fine tuning, is that your loved one is moving toward more and more limits.  Assuming they will continue to be vibrant and healthy is a nice thought, but they will continue to decline.  Allowing seniors in decline to do so with as much opportunity for activity and involvement will give them a better sense that diminishing abilities doesn’t have to be miserable, but can take on pleasure and have some fulfillment for them.

These are not easy times for either the care taker or the one being cared for.  Accommodating the emotional requirements that come with caretaking challenges will be one of the most difficult tasks you will ever face.



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