8 Common Caregiver Mistakes to Avoid
It can be quite distressing watching our parents’ heath fail and see them struggle with day to day tasks. But this is where you can step in and help them out. Lots of adults look after their aging parents and care for them as much as possible. However, this isn’t an easy task, and it can often cause arguments between parents and children. Especially if the parents still think that they can manage on their own. But regardless of whether you argue and bicker, it is still important that you stay by your parents’ side to care for them and help them when it is needed.
One reason why there is so much tension between parents and the children who are caring for them is that this is a role reversal. Your parents will have been used to looking after you and caring for you all of your lives, but now that responsibility has been taken away from them, and you now need to be responsible for them instead. Many parents can find this change hard to take. Not only that, though, but they also find it hard to come to terms with their ailing health and newfound difficulty doing everyday tasks and activities. But another reason for all this stress and tension is that the children can often make some mistakes and say the wrong things to their aging parents. Here are some common pitfalls that you should try to avoid when supporting aging parents.
Don’t Force Them To Do Anything That They Can’t
Some adults find it difficult to notice when their parents cannot do tasks and jobs that they once did with ease. If you find that one of your parents is struggling with something, you shouldn’t persuade them to try harder. They are probably already trying pretty hard, but their old age and reduced mental capacity are probably holding them back! For instance, you might think that changing a lightbulb isn’t too difficult, But it is for an elderly person whose hands constantly shake. So rather than encouraging them to carry on and try harder, you should step in and do the small job for them. Otherwise, they could end up getting very frustrated and stressed out
Don’t Get Annoyed When They Forget Things
We all forget things every now and then. And this becomes a lot more frequent the older that we get. So the chances are that your elderly parents will be forgetting things a lot more often than what they once did. The worst thing you can do in this situation is to get annoyed with them for always forgetting. If you do lose your temper with them over this, it will only upset them. You just need to be very understanding and remind them how to do certain things or where they placed something. If they continually forget to do tasks such as use their DVD player or tune the radio, it might be worth printing out some instructions that they can always refer to.
You Don’t Figure Out Your Own Limitations
Looking after your elderly parents can become very time-consuming. It will also take a lot out of you emotionally wise. Lots of people think that they can manage on their own, and stretch themselves in order to hold down a full-time job, look after their own family, and care for their elderly parents. However, none of us are superheroes, and this often becomes way too much for one individual to handle. For this reason, it is important that you know what your own limitations are. Not knowing this, and taking on too much, can lead to you getting very stressed and suffering a burnout. So you need to work out what your limitations are and stick to them. You might find it easier if you share the responsibility of caring for your parents by splitting it with your siblings. It is also important to know that there might be a time when they need to go into a care home for the best possible healthcare and treatment. If you feel that the time for this has come now, you can always look for the perfect home using sites like Caregiver Connection.
You’re Only Caring For Your Parents For Praise
When you decide to care for your elderly parents, it is important that you are doing it for completely altruistic reasons. Namely, these should be to ensure your parents continue to have a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, some people only care for their parents just because they think that this good deed will bring them a lot of praise and will put them in the high esteems of their peers. They may also expect their parents to praise them for taking care for them. However, if you do it for these reasons, your heart isn’t likely to be in the right place, and you will find that you may not do things to the best of your ability. Instead, make sure that you are doing it because it is the right thing to do
Don’t Ignore Them
When you were in your twenties and thirties, you probably didn’t call your parents that often. You might have even only visited them a couple of times a month. And this is perfectly fine at that age, as you have your own life to lead, and your parents would have been perfectly fine on their own living their own life. However, now that they are elderly, it isn’t quite so acceptable to ignore them for this same length of time. In fact, you will find that you have to check up on them a lot more regularly. Ideally, you should visit them at least twice a week, and aim to call them every other day. You might even call them every day just for your own peace of mind. So if you haven’t spoken to them in a while, it may be time to pick up your phone. I’m sure that they will be very happy to hear your voice and know that you are thinking about them!
You Don’t Emphasize With Them
Your parents will be struggling with their aging just as much as you are. In fact, they could possibly be taking it a lot worse than you are. It is very important to try and emphasize with your parents to try and understand the emotions and feelings that they are currently going through. Sure, there will be days when they are moody and frustrated. But this is because they are annoyed that they are not as young and healthy as they once were – all the negative energy certainly isn’t directed at you! Once you understand where they are coming from and are empathetic, you will find you can handle their mood swings a lot more effectively. Not only that, but you will become a lot more sympathetic.
Their Home Is Still Full Of Risks And Hazards
Your elderly parents will probably struggle with mobility problems. This will make it increasingly difficult for them to walk around their home. Things like steps and stairs will be extremely difficult for them to get up and down. Thankfully, there is plenty that you can do to make things easier for them around the house. For instance, you should try and remove as many risks and hazards as possible. There are also plenty of home adaptations that can be added to the house to make it easier for them to get around and do their everyday tasks. One of the best adaptations is a stair lift. You can get one of these fitted to the main staircase in the house so that your parents can easily get up and down the stairs whenever they need to.
You’re Encouraging Them To Stay At Home
You may think that if your elderly parents stay at home, they might be out of the way of potential hazards and accidents. However, this isn’t the case, and you should encourage them to be as active as possible. If they keep up a good social life and get out of the house often, they will be getting exercise, which can help them to keep their health and fitness levels up. Not only that, though, but it will also help them to maintain good mental health. Whenever possible, you should take them on days out. Even if it is just a quick visit to a nearby cafe, it will certainly keep them happy and ensure that they don’t get too bored at home.
Looking after your elderly parents will be a big challenge that you will face sooner or later. However, if you manage to stay away from all the above pitfalls, you will find that it is much easier for both you and them. And don’t forget, there is plenty of professional help that you can always fall back on if things get too tough.