Millions of Americans each year donate their time and talents to care for aging-in-place friends and relatives. Whether you’re new to the family caregiver game or a seasoned pro, having an effective caregiving strategy is the key to staying organized and focused with each passing day. Caregiving plans can vary based on the level of required care, the number of caregivers involved, and the time commitment it takes. When placed in this often-challenging role, these five tips will help ensure that your aging loved one gets the nurturing they deserve.
Devise an Eldercare Strategy
You’ll first need to create an eldercare game plan by gathering information and addressing any immediate problems at hand. Considering all aspects of your senior’s daily life will result in a more well-rounded strategy for dealing with family concerns.
Take time to review your loved one’s home environment, health status, medical and legal documents, financial affairs, and – most importantly – their ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). If your senior is like most, they might initially resist help from an “outsider” for reasons like pride and privacy. On the other hand, assessing their current and future needs is vital for developing a suitable plan of care that you can quickly implement when the time comes.
Prioritize Caregiving Needs
Based on your initial care assessment, determine what’s lacking or getting overlooked in their current routine. Then ask yourself, “What objectives would I like to help them achieve?” Once you’ve answered that question, make a prioritized list of caregiving needs while ranking them in order of importance.
For example, you may want Mom to eat healthier this year or for Dad to get out of the house more. While compiling your home care list, don’t forget to respect your loved one’s wishes if their condition would happen to grow worse due to an injurious fall or chronic illness. You can also use this same approach to help them prepare for long-term objectives like advance care planning, estate planning, financial planning, or funeral planning.
Use a Team Approach
When devising a senior home care plan, the tendency is to try and do everything yourself. But embarking on this journey alone can be overwhelming and lead to significant physical and emotional consequences resulting in caregiver burnout.
Instead, form a caregiving team comprised of trusted family members, community volunteers, and friends. Take an inventory of all the resources at your disposal and assign tasks based on each member’s time and talents.
Then, recruit specialists like doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, and pharmacists to fill in caregiving gaps. Eldercare specialists like elder law attorneys, benefits counselors, financial advisors, and certified public accountants can also be invaluable additions to your care team. A geriatric care manager can offer invaluable insight for organizing, monitoring, and facilitating your loved one’s care as their needs become more complex.
Fill in Any Holes
If your care plan still has holes, don’t hesitate to fill them with outside resources like a meal delivery service, online pharmacy, ride-sharing service, or adult daycare. Your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) can also be an invaluable resource for locating senior services you otherwise may not be familiar with.
Take a Break
Self-care is the most overlooked aspect of being an informal caregiver. In addition to eating right, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly, you’ll also need to take some time off whenever fatigue starts to set in.
One of the easiest and most reliable ways for family caregivers to take a well-deserved break is by hiring a professional in-home caregiver from a licensed home care agency. Known as “respite care,” most agency-furnished caregivers can deliver services in the home that range from light housekeeping and companionship to dementia and around-the-clock care.
Personalized In-Home Respite Care for Families in Northern Milwaukee
Although it’s highly gratifying, caring for an aging loved one can often feel like a full-time job. When you need to take a well-deserved break, contact the caring professionals at Home Instead. Conveniently available in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, North Shore, and surrounding areas, our flexible senior care services help to enhance the aging experience by providing practical support at home delivered with a human touch.
Our reliable in-home solutions help aging adults stay engaged in everyday life with tailor-made support to stay safe and well at home. At Home Instead, it is always our mission to provide a care plan personalized to your family’s needs – bringing you all comfort, companionship, and peace of mind. To learn more or schedule a time to talk with one of our home care specialists, please visit us at homeinsteadwi.wpengine.com.