According to Delaware Hospice, family caregivers spend four or five years caring for an aging relative. The tasks they perform for those who are aging range from minor things, like picking up groceries or performing household chores. As that person ages, the tasks may become more frequent and require more time of those who are providing the care. With the holidays quickly approaching, Delaware Hospice offers these tips to help reduce stress on the caregiver and the person who needs the additional help.
The first step is to seek as much information, training and support as possible. If you are providing care to someone who has been diagnosed with an illness, be sure to get a thorough and accurate diagnosis. Talk to the medical team about what can be done at home that will help avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. When conducting research online, be sure to use reputable sites to avoid getting incorrect information. Many chronic illnesses have organizations with websites with good information. For instance, the COPD Foundation for those with respiratory problems, Alzheimer’s Association for those with cognitive problems, American Cancer Society for those dealing with cancer are some suggestions. If you are caring for someone who is dealing with the aging process, there are also websites that offer valid and reliable information on how best to help, such as Eldercare.acl.gov.
Joining a caregiver support group is another way to help manage the stress of caring someone who may be dealing with aging or medical issues. It is helpful to hear from those dealing with the same problems and it is a great way to get invaluable tips on coping with daily challenges. Because caregiving can be isolating, it helps to know you are not alone.
Strategize with family and friends. Although they are your best option for assistance, they may not always be available. Organize a meeting with those who are willing to help and strategize together to see what will work best. There are also community services that can help with some tasks, such as Meals on Wheels, local senior centers or faith-based organizations.
If you believe it is time for your loved one to have more advanced care or additional help that cannot be provided by family and friends any longer, consider hiring someone to come in, even if it is for an hour or two each day. There may be assistance available to help cover the cost of in-home health care, such as long-term insurance benefits as well as local or state programs.
One of the most important things for caregivers to do is to take breaks. Ask family or friends to relieve you, even if it is just for a little time after work or a weekend. Consider adult daycare programs that are available as well. If it is not possible to take a long break, at least take a 10 minute mental break every day, whether it is sitting quietly in a room, taking a walk or chatting with a friend. Be sure to take care of yourself by cultivating healthy habits, avoiding overeating and alcohol. Nurture other relationships as well. Periodically, simply step back and acknowledge all that you do for your loved one. It is easy to feel as if you don’t do enough but realizing that you are doing your best is a great way to help you manage the tasks before you.
Delaware Transitions, a service of Delaware Hospice, is here to help. For more information, call 302-478-5707 or email [email protected].
Share this Post