More than 40 million people have moved a loved one into their home to take care of them. If you're part of this statistic, you should know that there are many different tools, strategies and resources to help you ease the burden of your new responsibility. Here are just four tips for caregivers of elderly charges.
Modify Your Home
Rails and grab bars can help your parent maintain their balance while they move through your home. A bathtub transfer bench will allow them to safely climb in and out of the tub. Motion-activated lights, faucets and toilets will keep them from having to twist or bend over for everyday tasks. There are a number of ways to make your parents or grandparents more comfortable in your home, so don't be afraid to think about remodeling.
Hire a Caregiver
In-home caregivers, like those with Baywood Home Care, are usually nurses or home health aides working in the private sector. Depending on their qualifications, they can help your parent with everything from bathing to drawing blood for health checks. They might also run errands, prepare meals, clean the house or assist your parent with their mobility issues. While you might have responsibilities that keep you from staying at home 24/7, a professional caregiver will ensure that your loved one still gets the support and attention that they need.
Encourage Their Independence
You don't have to do everything for your loved one. In fact, you can make them feel a lot better about their situation by fostering a sense of independence and self-reliance. For example, if they're physically able to do so, let your parent comb their own hair, take their own showers and perform their own PT exercises. If they've been struggling with the feeling of being older and more dependent on others than they used to be, giving them some autonomy can make them feel confident again.
Take Care of Yourself
It's common to experience "burnout" as the caregiver of an elderly or dependent relative. However, you don't have to let these feelings rule you. Think about joining a support group with other caregivers to gain some perspective on your new job, and make sure that you're getting out of the house on a regular basis to spend time with friends and other family members. Your physical and emotional health is just as important as your elderly relative's.
These are just a few things to keep in mind as you take care of your loved one at home. Whether you're providing long-term support for an Alzheimer's patient or just nursing your mom back to health after a car accident, let these tips ease some of your burdens.