Providing care for aging loved ones is a tremendous act of kindness. It’s also not without its challenges. We see our clients face new situations they were not prepared when they take on this new responsibility. Let us share with you several tips every caregiver needs to know.
1. Start the conversation now. Nobody wants to sit down and talk to aging family members about getting older, much less about potential illnesses. Heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s aren’t anyone’s idea of fun chit-chat. But it’s critical to breach the subject of gaining now in order to be prepared later.
2. Learn as much as you can about your loved one’s health. Like the old adage: Knowledge is power. Understanding current or likely health scenarios can provide the basis for making the best possible decisions.
3. Go to the doctor with your loved one. If you really want to know what’s going on, you have to be in the room. Medical diagnoses can be difficult for anybody. Why take the chance on missing something important?
4. Keep safety a top priority. One in three adults over age 65 report falling. Removing wheels from chairs, adding lights to staircases, grab bars to bathrooms, and rearranging furniture are simple ways to decrease accidents. Worn monitors and alerts can also be extremely helpful in the event of an emergency.
5. Older adults don’t just hand over their car keys. Unfortunately, there’s a point when driving is no longer a good idea. The same is true for paying bills and managing financial affairs. Caregivers should understand that these are difficult losses of independence, and should approach the subject with compassion.
6. Practice communicating and develop behavior management skills. It can be draining, even frustrating, to provide care for an elderly person. There are numerous classes, books and online trainings devoted to developing these skill sets.
7. Look into home-based services. Home-based caregiving services are available in most areas. Veterans Affairs or community-based organizations offer an array of services, such as music and speech therapy.
8. Do your homework when hiring paid-caregivers. Paying others to provide care is a great option, even if only part-time. But not all paid-caregivers are the same. Make sure to research reputable agencies and regularly monitor the situation.
We know this is can be an overwhelming time. Do not wait to contact our office to schedule a meeting and address your elder law needs.