We all prefer the comforts of home – familiar surroundings, having all your favorite things nearby, sleeping in your own bed, maintaining privacy when we want it. For many seniors, staying at home becomes challenging as mobility, memory and physical ailments get in the way of remaining in their home and remaining safe at the same time.
As a caregiver to a parent or elder, the subject of staying at home for as long as possible is usually a top priority. However, caregivers can become overwhelmed by the responsibilities and energy it requires. They can also be wracked with guilt over promises to keep a parent at home, not having enough time to devote to home care, and worries about a senior’s safety when home alone.
When you can create a situation that is safe for everyone involved, keeping an older adult at home is a wonderful thing to do. Here are some of our tips to help keep a senior in their home as long as possible:
Caring for an older adult is a stressful and demanding job. No matter how close your relationship, the day to day requirements to keep someone clean, safe and healthy can quickly become overwhelming. Often the health of the caregiver begins to suffer, as their own needs are put aside to keep up with the needs of their loved one. As a caregiver, you need to remember that you are only one person. Pace yourself through your daily chores, taking time for your own rest and self-care. You are already a hero – you don’t have to prove it by being perfect or carrying the whole load yourself!
Be Realistic About How Much Care is Needed
When you are buried in the weeds, so to speak, it can be hard to see the big picture of what is happening. Your focus is on the task at hand and your long to-do list. You can only keep up a stressful pace so long, so taking a step back to really look at how much care your older adult needs will really help sustain aging in place longer, and keep caregivers from burnout.
Create a list of the activities and chores you do every day, each week, and throughout the month. This detailed outline will help you understand just how much help is needed during each day, overnight and on weekend, and what are some repetitive tasks that you might get help with. It will also identify what times of day are the most intense, and when and how much supervision is needed throughout each day.
Itemize Daily, Weekly, Monthly Activities:
- Bathing and Dressing Routine
- Meals: Shopping, Planning, Cooking, Feeding, Clean Up
- House Cleaning and Chores
- Entertainment and Socializing
- Physical (PT) Activities and Exercise
- Bedtime Routine
- Medications and Supplements
- Appointments and Shopping
If you make a comprehensive list throughout the week, with notes for every time you or someone else helps your senior with their needs, you will develop a great overview of what your older adult really needs help with at what times of the day. Doing this exercise daily over the course of a month will ensure you don’t miss anything, and really allow you to see the big picture. This list will help you figure out what you can handle, and what you could use some help with. You can identify specific tasks, and be proactive about getting help before you wear yourself out and are no good to anyone.
At Arcadia New England, we want the best possible care for our seniors, and we are here to help with daily activities, transportation, and healthcare needs. We take the time to meet extensively with the family and the senior loved one so we can get to know you. We always begin with a thorough in-home assessment of what the unique care needs may be. A comprehensive care plan is created to ensure all care needs are met, and this plan is reviewed regularly to make any necessary adjustments.
Share the Burden
It’s simply unrealistic to think one person can provide all the care needs of a senior over the long-term. Caregiver burnout is real, and serious health issues can result when it is ignored too long. Your comprehensive list of care needs and tasks gives you a picture of the tasks performed every day and repetitive activities that you could get some assistance with. Perhaps there is another family member, neighbor, old friend or church member who could help with rides to appointments, cleaning, shopping and errands, or just to come sit for the afternoon so you can take a true break for some time to yourself. Caregivers often fall into the trap of believing they shouldn’t ask for help, shouldn’t bother others, or that asking for help is a weakness or failure of some sort. If you keep in mind the long-term health and safety of both your senior and yourself, you will realize asking for some help is the smartest and strongest thing you could do!
Because our care providers can help with such a wide variety of assistance, Arcadia New England can lift the burden of daily chores, meals, personal care, as well as professional healthcare support. We can help with as little or as much as our families need. Exceptional care with a personal touch is our specialty!
You’ve got your list, you’re being realistic about how much you can do yourself, so now it’s time to find some caregiving help. Reaching out to family and friends, and finding other forms of support can take some time, but the effort will be worth it! You and your senior will stay healthier longer, and the likelihood of them being able to stay in their home longer increases. Keep an open mind and be flexible as you work through this process. Your senior may enjoy and adult day program more than you think; your brother may not mind helping with some chores as much as you believe; and there are professionals out there who can offer kind, loving care to your senior in your absence. Imagine feeling less stress and worry, and being able to take some regular breaks!
Some Assistance Ideas Include:
- Ask family members or close friends to help with errands, light housekeeping, home maintenance, meals or visits.
- Enroll your older adult in an Adult Day Program so they have a chance to socialize with others their own age and meet new people.
- Check out local churches and senior programs for activities and assistance.
- Sign up for a meal delivery service or check into Meals on Wheels.
- Hire In-Home Caregiving to give yourself some regular breaks.
At Arcadia New England, our caregivers are local, trained healthcare and comfort-care professionals who provide necessary care services and personal assistance in our client’s homes. Highly trained and screened, our staff will provide the best medical and personal care with compassion as well as technical expertise. We match our clients with just the right caregiver, and because they live locally themselves, our staff are familiar with local businesses and culture, making them a more comforting fit for people.
We want our seniors to continue to live independently as long as possible, while getting the help they need to be healthy, safe and feel secure. Call Us today so we can schedule a time to meet with you and your loved one!