Family caregivers spend hours each week providing home care to an aging parent. Often, this care is provided for free. It can mean cutting work hours or limiting time spent with friends and other family members. People jump in and don’t often think about whether they’re equipped to provide care to a senior loved one. Are you truly prepared for some of the things you’ll be doing?
Family Caregiving Doesn’t Always Have Set Hours
What is your job like? Can you come and go as needed? Caregiving doesn’t always have set hours. It all depends on your parent’s needs. If your mom has Alzheimer’s, there comes a point where constant supervision is needed to prevent harm to herself. She might try to cook a meal and forget it’s cooking, which can lead to a kitchen fire.
Your dad may not sleep well at night and try to go for a walk. Once outside, he’s in danger of animals, cars, and getting lost. You don’t realize he’s left until you wake up the next morning. You need to be alert to his nightly patterns and stay up if needed. You have to learn to sleep when he sleeps.
Lifting or Carrying a Parent Takes Body Strength
You have an office job and are used to sitting behind a desk and answering calls or typing on the computer. You’re not used to lifting heavy items. If your parent needs help with mobility, you’ll be lifting or supporting another person. You could strain a muscle if you’re not careful.
Patience is Needed
Your parent is frustrated by poor health, doctor’s orders, or memory loss. You’re the person there all day, so that frustration is taken out on you. Can you handle being called names? Punched or kicked? Spit on?
You may not think your parent is capable of lashing out, but with some changes during aging, agitation is common. People with Alzheimer’s have been known to throw food, cry, bite, hit, and lash out verbally. You need to have the patience to take it while trying not to react.
Can You Handle Awkward Tasks?
Caregiving is more about cooking meals and spending time with your mom or dad. While that’s part of it, you may need to help a parent get dressed, wash all areas of the body while sitting in the shower, or floss teeth. To some caregivers, those chores are easy to manage. Others have a hard time handling them. Where do you fall?
You don’t have to refuse to care for your parents, but you do need to think of your own needs. Supplement the care you provide with services from a home care agency. By having help, you’ll avoid the stress that can impact the health of family caregivers. Find out more about the options available by calling an agency.
For home care in Cherry Hill, NJ, and the surrounding areas, call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 321-1500.