by Sally Collins, freelance writer
As more people are living longer – around one-in every seven US citizens is 65 or over – there is greater knowledge and understanding about the kind of care and support people might require as they age. While there’s no question that many seniors need help, tailoring a care package or list of duties can be a daunting task. Although the type of care older people require can vary widely, the typical basic care requirements for many seniors are actually quite similar. This might include:
- Help with housework
- Assisting, or doing grocery shopping
- Personal care assistance
- Ensuring any medication is well organized and taken when it should be
- Their mobility – either in the short-term after surgery or long-term
As you can see, there is quite a list of care requirements. But not everyone wants, or needs, help in every area. It is essential that the senior recipient of care gets to know their carer/s and discusses what they would like from them. This also gives the carer/s time to understand how to encourage and support their client or family member, without pushing things too far, or not providing enough support.
You’re Not Alone
When it comes to being a caregiver for seniors, or arranging an adequate care plan, there are lots of resources to help so you don’t have to do it alone. Speaking with professionals to discuss the right care plan, is often the best way to start your caregiving role as a family member. Or if you feel your elderly relative or close friend is in need, but afraid or unwilling to say so, discussing a starter care plan with professionals can be a great way to introduce the idea.
There are free resources online, support from hospices and non-profit organizations, as well as support from paid professionals and medical centers. With their help, you can help the senior in need of care gain a little control over the situation. That’s something that should encourage them to feel happy with the level of care they’re receiving and request a change or more support as time goes on.
Having a plan in place and working with professionals – whether on a regular or occasional basis – means there’s always someone else to turn to. That’s the case equally for the senior recipient, the caregivers and any other relevant family members or friends.
Asking For Help
As a caregiver, it’s okay to ask for help, particularly if you’re struggling with another area of your personal life. Indeed, while you might only consider what your duties as a caregiver to the senior recipient are – those duties have to include looking after yourself properly, too. If you’re not, then you’re unlikely to be able to fulfill their needs – or yours.
Just as we encourage people to seek help as they get older, caregivers should also feel supported enough to do the same. As such, that’s another duty to add to your list!