Caregiving: Sensible Steps To Success
There comes a time in every person's life when they need help with everyday tasks. It's a life-changing experience that can often overwhelm the individual needing care, and their loved ones. This delicate and often charged situation requires a lot of thought, discretion and compassion, especially since the needs of your loved one can be very different from what he or she wants. The tips below can help ensure your loved one has the best quality of life possible by recognizing the need for additional care, and matching it with appropriate solutions.
Spot the signs. Keeping an eye out for changes in behaviour is essential, especially if your loved one is trying to hide difficulties from you. Watch for signs that your loved one is having trouble coping with everyday tasks and activities such as:
Determine needs. Take a close look to see if the daily needs of your loved one are being met. Is meal preparation difficult? Is the lack of companionship taking its toll? Social and physical changes may require increased medical attention or support from social programs. Discuss what activities pique his or her interest and any concerns about home care. Then together, search out programs and look into respite services if needed.
Explore options. Your doctor, friends and family are all great starting points for ideas on caregiving, as are your local health departments and social services. By exploring different caregiver options, you'll uncover the information you need to help make the best decision for your loved one. Day programs, residential or in-home care are offered through associations, governments or hospitals. You can also check into companies, associations and community or cultural centres for leisure programs that are geared to people with health or mobility concerns.
Ease into it. Take baby steps. Let your loved one and other family members know what plans you've made and what actions will happen when. The adjustment can be trying, especially if your relative is the one used to taking care of the family. Be prepared for lots of questions and concerns from everyone. Keep them up to date and be ready to share all information.
Team up. Make sure your loved one knows you are there as a partner to assist in choosing care options and offer help rather than dictating actions. Include family members and friends in discussions and important decisions and ask them to lend a hand when needed. Open dialogue and suggestions will help in the decision-making process.
Don't go it alone. Caregiving can be overwhelming. Make sure your own needs are looked after so you can meet the needs of your loved one. Informal support networks including discussion groups and educational programs are excellent resources for information and aid. Check online for chat rooms or with your local hospital to find other caregivers and caregiver support groups in your community.
Remember, this is about your loved one's best interests, so it's vital to offer compassion and support even if the going gets rough. Identifying symptoms, careful research and an open dialogue with your family and relative will not only ensure your own peace of mind, but also that your loved one gets the best care and support available.
Need more information on caregiving? Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. You can receive support through a variety of resources, including your child to elder care support services. Call your EAP to see if you are eligible at 1.800.387.4765 for service in English or 1.800.361.5676 for service in French.
This content is meant for informational purposes and may not represent the views of individual organizations. Please call your EAP or consult with a professional for further guidance.
© 2005 WarrenShepell