While taking care of an elderly person, young people come to face many challenges, which at first; they don’t know how to tackle.
Sure, we do learn to overcome such problems over the time, but if you’ve just taken up caregiving for your beloved elderly parent and you have no idea what a drastic change it would be for you and the challenges you’ll face in the long run due to it; worry not.
I’m going to explain to you exactly what you must foresee before you get yourself into this draining and yet very fulfilling task and how you’re going to handle these problems.
1. Time Management
Here’s the deal. When you take up the task of caring for an elderly person, you don’t realize exactly how much of your time you will be investing in them. And so consequently, managing your time becomes the worst part of your whole routine.
You end up having no time for your friends. You even sometimes have to give up your hobbies and other activities that you enjoy. Taking a Harmonica class? Well, probably say bye to it. But here’s the deal, you can most definitely resort to respite care almost always.
It allows you to take some time off and regain your energies. Over the time you will learn how exactly you can manage your time and everything will fall in its right place.
2. You’ll Be Stressed Out
And you’ll feel drained, both emotionally and physically. Caregiving for elders can always take its toll on you if you’re not vigilant enough. Did you know that according to a survey, approximately 22% of the caregivers had reported that their health has worsened since they took up the responsibility?
The numbers are not even above 30%, but it is still alarming and says a lot about what you should be doing to take care of yourself while you’re nursing your elderly parent.
You will probably suffer from sleep-deprivation, and the way it affects your health is something you cannot really make up for with diet. So keep this in your mind and try to get as many naps as you can during the day.
You can’t possibly determine the amount of depression you will suffer from. It’s not the caregiving itself that causes the depression; an you won’t even notice it right away. But gradually you will realize that the emotional strain is building up.
Signs could be mood swings, feeling anxious or cranky and abrupt breakdowns. The problem is, people take up a responsibility that is too hard for them to fulfill all by themselves. To add up to the depression, they do not seek help.
On an emotional level you might as well think you do not need help, and all the help must be provided to the elderly. Don’t feel ashamed if you require assistance with something or even if you need to sort yourself out emotionally. Seek help!
This is a million dollar advice, please get done with all the formal legal documentation and processes as soon as you possibly can. Elderly people generally have a greater risk of developing mental illnesses in which you will have to apply for their guardianship before you take all the property matters in your hand.
And this process will require a lot of effort and money. Anyway, before you even take this responsibility, sit with your parents and talk it out. Discuss the finances with them, if they have any property and can pay for their expenses.
Otherwise, you’ll be paying for them. Now in case you cannot pay for your parents, you can look up allowances that help the elderly such as an attendance allowance. There are many such options out there that you can use.
Mindset of the Elderly
Your biggest hindrance, however, is none of what I have already told you. The biggest challenge is having an elderly parent who is in need of getting help but they are not willing to accept this fact. You cannot quite determine where the borderline of giving them help and giving them enough space so they can do it themselves since they want to lie.
It’s tough to understand how much of it they can handle themselves and what exactly would they require help with. Sometimes, elders can come off as stubborn or too proud to accept any help altogether. Sometimes, you and your elderly can be of very different nature and opinions which might bring to the point where you don’t understand each other at all.
The bottom line here is that it is really hard to care for an elder; however, realize that this is certainly going to be a very rewarding duty that you performed. And in the end you’ll only be proud of the fact that you helped your parents through it.