If you and your siblings find your elderly parents can no longer live safely at home, it usually falls to one of the siblings to provide the home care that the elderly relative needs. This might be a very workable solution for the short term, but when the needs of the aging relative become too demanding, especially if the caregiver needs to attend to his or her own family and work, the burden of the care-giving will need to be distributed.
Issues usually arise when the aging parent needs more than just cursory care or a driver for grocery store and doctor’s visits. It’s been shown that an individual that is charged with intensive care-giving duties in addition to their own home and family obligations experience burnout and physical and emotional health issues. One of the primary reasons many elderly are placed into an assisted living situation stems from the fact that the caregiver’s health is suffering and is limiting the care they can provide the elderly relative.
Family members can help unburden the caregiver by providing opportunities to step away from the situation. This can be done by setting up a family schedule, hiring a home health aide, and equipping the aging parent’s home with a medical alert system to take away worry and fear when the parent is home alone. A home medical alert system and medical emergency pendant offer round-the-clock peace of mind for the elderly and the rest of the family.
There is no clear cut answer when it comes to easing the burden of senior care. Sharing the load with other family members can certainly offer the main caregiver an opportunity to take a day or two off to rest and recharge. If there are no other siblings or relatives available to provide respite, see if the family finances will allow for an in-home healthcare provider. In some cases, insurance policies may cover the cost of in-home healthcare. Consider too the idea of hiring someone to come in once or twice a week to do light housekeeping and even cook a few meals that your relatives can simply heat and eat. There are services that can provide relief to help ease the stress and potential burnout on the primary caregiver.
- Council on the Aging is a municipal agency in your community that provides assistance and advice to caregivers and is a resource for aging healthcare services.
- National Family Caregiver’s Association provides information and advice to those who find themselves in the role of caregiver.
- The Family Caregiver Alliance provides information, hints, and tips for caregivers dealing with parents that want to age at home.
Family members need to begin building a support system to help with senior care prior to when it is actually needed. Being prepared means that once a health issue occurs you won’t have to operate in panic mode to find ways to balance caring for your own work, family and home obligations as well as caring for your aging relative. Also, as a caregiver, you also need to give yourself permission to take a day off, and having a home medical device in your aging relative’s home offers peace of mind to be able to do just that.