When a loved one is finding it difficult to complete an activity, our typical instinct, with the very best of intentions, is almost always to step in and do it ourselves. But is this really assisting a senior loved one – or can it be hindering?
The simple truth is, there’s a fine line between guaranteeing a senior’s safety and depriving the person of the self-worth and purpose that is paramount to our health and wellbeing.
Dr. Barry J. Jacobs, clinical psychologist, family therapist, and healthcare consultant who co-authored the book AARP Meditations for Caregivers, shares from his own experience in caring for his mom: “With all my best intentions and concerted energies, I mostly succeeded in curbing her independence and squelching her spirit. She didn’t see me as her caring son so much as the overbearing usurper of roles she cherished.”
The following suggestions can help family caregivers more fully recognize when to intervene – and when to step back:
- Exercise patience. Arrange your day to permit enough time for the older adult to work through tasks at a pace that’s most comfortable. When we are hurried and harried, we are very likely to move in and take control. Just a little extra time can make a difference in maximizing the person’s confidence level.
- Stress the positives. Although it’s true that particular responsibilities have grown to be too hard to take care of independently, uncover work-around options that make certain your loved one can stay involved in the task according to the person’s unique strengths. For example, if loading clothes into and out of the washer and dryer is difficult, the person might still be able to sort and fold clothing.
- Encourage feedback. Have an honest, open, heart-to-heart discussion with your loved one to express his / her expectations concerning your part in providing care support. Is the older adult struggling with giving up specific tasks of day to day life? Do you know the most pressing needs? Companionship along with other emotional care? Physical assistance with ambulation, bathing, and getting dressed? Maintaining the home and yard? Come together to design a plan to satisfy these needs in a way that is acceptable to both yourself and also the senior.
It’s likewise a wise idea to explore the notion of enlisting help from a reliable in-home senior care provider, such as Absolute Companion Care. Oftentimes, family caregivers become overloaded with taking care of housework, meal preparation, running errands, transportation, and personal care needs, leaving very little time to just take pleasure in spending quality time with the senior they love.
Absolute Companion Care, Baltimore elder care providers, offers a full range of personalized services to manage each one of these needs and more, making sure that senior loved ones in Baltimore and the surrounding area are safe, while empowering them to stay as independent as possible. Reach out to us at 410-357-9640 to request a complimentary in-home assessment, and strike a healthy life balance – both for the senior you love, and yourself.