Families often need to play an important role in this process of arranging care. Children and other relatives are often called upon (or need to impose themselves) to facilitate problem solving for diminished capacities of the aging person. Sometimes social workers and close friends can help convince the aging individual that help will be beneficial.
As increasing frailty becomes apparent, most people and their families seek ways for the aging person to remain in their homes as long as possible. The benefits to staying in one's own home are obvious: the reassuring familiar environment, proximity to family and friends, familiarity with local support services and the comfort of existing financial arrangements.The home environment has meaning, memories and value to the senior.
If staying at home is a preferred first step, the most critical resource required is usually "an extra pair of hands", or someone providing personal care-giving services. The first candidates for this job are quite often the person's extended family.Many families throughout the United States are becoming caregivers to loved ones and discovering the joys and burdens of the role. The joys and increased emotional connections with our aging relatives is often an extremely enriching experience, but it also has its challenges.
As these families are finding, caring for a loved one at home is demanding both physically and emotionally.Physically we are called on to provide services to our loved ones that we may not know how to perform. One has to learn new skills, many of which will take a novice time to master.During this process, we may learn to shave our father's beards, help mothers out of bed, provide a strong steady hand and shoulder to a favorite aunt as she navigates the stairs to her apartment.
Emotionally we find ourselves providing help in ways that may feel demeaning to the frail senior. They haven't needed toileting their whole lives, now they rely on a younger family member to help them out. Almost universally, family caregivers are forced to learn the meaning of patience as they deal with loved ones who are needy (whether they know it or not), and uncomfortable in their new role as "the aging, frail person".
Learning to be a caregiver for a family member doesn't happen in a vacuum. Most supportive family members, who take on family care-giving roles, have lives to live and ongoing responsibilities including jobs and children. How does one make time to be everywhere one is needed?
For most people, caring for a loved one at home is a workable intermediate solution, but as the burdens increase families are increasingly seeking external resources to help them cope.Families often phase into utilizing external resources either through finding adult day care facilities in the area or hiring caregivers for respite care (care provided for short periods of time to give the family caregivers respite - a rest - from their care giving duties.)
As individuals become increasingly frail they require ever increasing amounts of support. When a loved one has great difficulty getting around or possibly even becomes bed-bound, the physical labor becomes very taxing. If you are caring for someone in this condition it becomes apparent that assistance is needed during the heavy lifting especially if you are feeling aches and pains in your lower back. An example of activities where this occurs is during the bathing process or transferring from the bed to a wheelchair.
Amdal can help you through this process by providing additional caregivers to assist your loved one or training on assistive devices in the home.We can provide family caregivers a needed break, and our Care Coordinators can provide an independent and realistic assessment of care needs, and the seniors overall condition.