When an elderly parent’s health declines, it can become a challenging time for a family. Caregiving for a loved one is no easy task, but with a well-thought-out caregiving plan, your family can come together as a united front to do what is needed for your parent. Here are some helpful tips for sharing caregiving responsibilities among family members.
Tip #1: Talk About Caregiving Responsibilities
Begin with scheduling a family meeting, whether in person, through a conference call, or using a digital interface such as Zoom. If possible, include your parent in the decision-making, which will allow your parent to maintain their sense of dignity and independence. Even though their ideas may not be entirely realistic, attempt to honor their wishes as much as possible. Talking it over, even if no firm plan is agreed on, will at least be enlightening to all involved and will give family members time to consider how they can help.
Tip #2: Designate Someone to be the Primary Caregiver
A calm discussion about choosing the primary caregiver is ideal, so this conversation should be scheduled as soon as it is apparent that your loved one requires care - before a possible crisis occurs.
Be sure to express your appreciation to the primary caregiver for taking on this role and be a listening ear whenever they need to vent or share a challenge. Listening to them will help them know that they are not alone in this journey. Also, the primary caregiver needs to have a chance at a regular, healthy lifestyle with respite, allowing them to get some much-needed rest and time away from the situation. That is why sharing caregiving responsibilities is imperative. Look at it this way. It’s the primary caregiver’s responsibility to care for the loved one. Someone needs to care for the caregiver.
Tip #3: Take Advantage of Family Members’ Caregiving Strengths
When dividing responsibilities, it is important to consider what each family member is good at and how those skills might help in the current situation. For instance, those with financial abilities can assist with monetary guidance, and those in the legal field can provide expertise with will and estate planning. If you have a family member who works in the health field, they may feel more comfortable speaking as the family’s liaison with doctors and other healthcare professionals. A more resourceful and technologically savvy family member can do things such as researching information, keeping people up-to-date on changing conditions, and offering encouragement via phone or electronic device. Ideally, each of you will be able to take on tasks best suited to your skills or interests.
Tip #4: Be Realistic About Limitations Among Caregivers
Encourage each family member to be realistic about how much they can do to help. Identify what needs cannot be met by you or others and which services may need to be hired. Remember that duties may need to be adjusted to reflect changes in family members’ availability or abilities, the situation, or your loved one’s needs over time.
If you can’t be there in person, find ways to provide support from a long distance to stay in touch. Just because you are far away does not mean you cannot play an important role. You may be able to help out financially, research community resources, or check in with your parent regularly by phone. Make the most of any visits and offer to relieve the primary caregiver whenever or however you can by setting aside time to travel to stay yourself or hiring help.
If transportation is an issue for caregivers, let us at Deano’s Senior Transit help! You can arrange for transportation for your loved one to be driven to doctor’s appointments and errands, such as shopping for food and household supplies. As a leading non-emergency medical transportation provider in the Tulsa area, we will provide affordable transportation essential to helping your parent maintain their independence and health.
In short, teamwork is at the heart of successful caregiving. Lean on one another throughout this emotional journey to help with the emotions, feelings, and stress you may all be experiencing. Use this time to connect with your shared loved one and the rest of the family.
Let Deano’s Senior Transit Help
Introducing home care does not mean that you must keep a loved one from doing what they enjoy. Ensuring that your loved one can still attend social gatherings, visit with family, and accomplish typical daily routines provides them with the opportunity to live a fuller life. Our mission is to provide safe, comfortable transportation for seniors while easing the burden this responsibility may create for family members.