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Senior Resources » Home Care » Ultimate Guide to Providing Home Care to a Senior Loved One

Ultimate Guide to Providing Home Care to a Senior Loved One

home care helper

Life has a way of sneaking up on us. It’s easy to get swept up in the demands of daily life – work, children, weekends consumed by travel soccer. Evenings are filled with helping with homework, attending dance classes, and attempting to carve out some quality time with your partner. You’ve grown accustomed to this beautiful chaos, but it’s a full-time job in itself.

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Then, one day, you receive a call.

Your mother, who is in her 70s and lives alone, has taken a tumble down a few steps. This isn’t her first fall, but it’s certainly the most alarming yet due to a few visible bruises. Thankfully, she isn’t seriously injured. But what about next time?

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Later that night, as you lie in bed, worry gnaws at your peace. You find yourself awake, wondering, “When did time start moving so quickly? And when did my mom start needing so much help?” This is the third time just this week that you’ve had to rush over to her house. The first time, she was locked out after watering the flowers on her front porch. The second time, she was distressed because she couldn’t locate her purse.

It’s clear that more needs to be done.

Aging in Place

seniors holding a house symbolizing aging in place

Most people think aging in place simply means growing old in your own home. And, while that’s true, it’s really only part of the big picture. The truth is: it’s so much more.

Aging in place includes securing the care and support needed to stay safe at home. The process focuses on improving and maintaining quality of life while planning for the future.

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Did you know that 90% of seniors WANT to age at home?

When signs emerge indicating that a loved one needs assistance, it’s crucial to know where to begin. If you and your family intend to provide that help, you’ll require a plan. Caring for a loved one often necessitates considerable preparation and teamwork. Here’s how to get started:

Before You Make a Plan

family caregiver

Before creating a home care plan for your senior loved one, you’ll need to do a whole lot of info-gathering. Your first steps should be focused on assessing health, safety, and wishes. Some of this will require a little investigating. You may need to talk with your family member’s doctor or other health professionals. Your loved one should be included in this process as much as possible. It’s important to ask before looking through their medications or personal belongings as this could be construed as overstepping boundaries; which, in turn, may undermine your intentions, no matter how wholesome they may be. Of course, allowances will need to be made if your loved one has developed impairments that make it difficult to communicate or comprehend clearly and effectively (i.e. Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory-effecting conditions).

Assessing Health

When assessing your family member’s health, first gather preliminary info such as medical history and medications taken, then answer some simple questions to determine their needs. Here are some ways to start charting health:

Medical Conditions

ConditionHealthcare ProviderMedication For This ConditionPast or Ongoing?


Major Illnesses

IllnessStart DateEnd DatePhysicianNotes


Surgeries

ProcedureDateHospitalPhysicianNotes


Medication List

MedicationDosageFrequencyPhysicianPurposeStartEnd


Vaccinations

VaccinationDate


Lifestyle

You should gather information on any vices your senior loved one may have indulged in over the years as well. Note the frequency of use as well. This includes:

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  • Cigarette use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Vape/e-cigarette use
  • Recreational drug use

Medical Contacts

NameProvider TypePhoneAddressNotes


Physical Health

YESNOIf their phone rings, can they hear it?
YESNOWhen you speak to them, are they able to clearly hear everything you say without straining?
YESNOCan your loved one get dressed on their own?
YESNOCan they tie their own shoes?
YESNODo they maintain overall good hygiene (i.e. washes and brushes hair, wears clean clothing, bathes regularly and completely, brushes teeth, etc.)?
YESNODo they keep a clean, clutter-free home (i.e. they are able to dust, vacuum, mop, and put away items after use)?
YESNOCan they do their own laundry?
YESNODoes your loved one keep a clean kitchen and bathroom (i.e. they are able to wipe down and sanitize surfaces, clean up after meals, and wash towels regularly)?
YESNOAre they able to maintain the yard and do regular home maintenance?
YESNODo they have a good range of motion?
YESNODo they experience pain when moving extremities?
YESNOAny leg or apparent muscle pain?
YESNODoes your loved one have any apparent muscle weakness or paralysis?
YESNOAre they able to take care of pets (i.e. walking the dog, cleaning the litter box, and feeding daily)?
YESNODoes your loved one need help with transferring in and out of bed or chairs?
YESNOCan they get in and out of the shower or bathtub safely?
YESNOCan they bathe themself completely with no help?
YESNODo they require assistance or total bathing from someone else?
YESNODo they use a toilet without help (i.e. sitting, standing, and cleaning self)?
YESNODo they have complete self-control over urination and defecation?
YESNOCan they feed themself?
YESNOHas your loved one unintentionally lost or gained weight recently?
YESNOAre they able to get exercise regularly (i.e. walking or any form of appropriate movement for at least 30 minutes per day)?
YESNODo they need help walking short distances?
YESNOCan they get around the house safely (i.e. no falls)?
YESNOHave they had any recent eye pain or changes in sight?
YESNOHave they had any recent changes in the color of their skin?
YESNOHave you observed abnormalities in extremities (i.e. bumps, bunions, etc.)?
YESNODoes your loved one have frequent tremors or ticks they’re unable to control?

Mental/Cognitive Health

YESNOIs your loved one able to do their own grocery shopping (i.e. planning meals, choosing foods in-store, handling money or a bank card, and loading/unloading their vehicle)?
YESNODo they remember to pay bills regularly and on time?
YESNOCan your loved one drive safely and with confidence?
YESNODo they regularly prepare their own meals?
YESNOIf they are on any prescription medication, do they take it regularly and as prescribed?
YESNODo they make their own health care appointments and do they understand any care plans provided by their primary physician?
YESNOCan they manage conditions or illnesses safely and effectively with little or no help (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, the common cold, influenza, etc.)?
YESNODoes your loved one worry a lot?
YESNODo your loved one’s own thoughts seem to make them anxious?
YESNODo they have a hard time making decisions?
YESNODoes your loved one experience frequent and apparent mood changes?
YESNODoes your loved one have a hard time remembering what day of the week it is?
YESNOAre they easily confused?
YESNOCan they recognize faces and remember names?
YESNOLanguage disorientation – Do they frequently misplace words, struggle to find words when speaking, or do their sentences trail off?
YESNODirectional disorientation – Do they frequently forget how to get from one place to another, even if it’s just a room in their house?

Social Health

YESNODoes your loved one frequently socialize with friends and family?
YESNOAre they involved in volunteer work?
YESNODo they participate in activities outside of their home?
YESNODo they get bored often?
YESNOAre they in good spirits most of the time?
YESNODo they prefer to be at home rather than out and doing new things?

Assessing Safety at Home

Assessing the safety of a home is an important step in ensuring a loved one can age in place. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to get you started:

Bathroom Safety

  • Is the bathtub difficult to step over? You might want to consider remodeling the tub or installing a zero-threshold shower.
  • A shower chair can provide added security.
  • Install grab bars in the shower/tub and near the toilet for extra support.
  • Use non-slip bath mats and rugs to prevent falls.
  • Ensure frequently used items are within easy reach.

Kitchen

  • Are dishes and food stored in easy-to-reach cabinets?
  • If the floor is slippery, consider buying non-slip kitchen rugs.
  • Check that there’s adequate lighting.
  • If there are pets, keep food and water bowls out of walking spaces.
  • A step stool can help access higher shelves.

Bedrooms

  • Lights and switches should be easily accessible. Pull strings, dimmer switches, and sound-activated light switches are affordable and easy to install.
  • Store extra linen in an easy-to-reach area.
  • Ensure there’s enough walking space by considering less furniture.

General

  • Install night lights to ensure hallways and living spaces are well-lit.
  • Smoke detectors should be installed in each room, with batteries changed every six months.
  • Don’t forget a carbon monoxide detector.
  • If stairs are difficult to climb, consider installing a ramp or stairlift.
  • Area rugs should have a non-slip backing.
  • If doorknobs are hard to turn, consider installing door levers.
  • Keep cords and cables out of walking spaces.
  • Outside entryways should be well-lit, and handrails should be secure.

By following this checklist, you’ll create a safer environment for your loved one to age in place.

Knowing Your Senior Loved One’s Wishes

father and son outside hugging

Understanding what your family member truly wants isn’t possible without asking the right questions. Remember, even the best intentions can lead to misunderstandings if they’re based on assumptions. As much as possible, include your loved one in all the planning.

Find out what type of care they’re comfortable with and who they’d prefer to handle certain tasks. Are they open to making home modifications? Is managing monthly bills becoming an overwhelming task? Start your questions with phrases like “would it be okay if…” or “how would you like it if…”.

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These conversations often occur gradually over time, not all at once. So, don’t be disheartened if your loved one isn’t immediately open to receiving help at home. Sometimes, initiating the conversation is the most significant step.

Remember, each situation is unique. But with patience, empathy, and open communication, you can better understand your loved one’s needs and desires.

Locate Important Documents

power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and living will legal documents

While it may seem like a daunting and even disheartening task, gathering important documents is a crucial step in creating a home care plan for your loved one. You might not need all the information, but it’s better to be prepared just in case. At the very least, you should know where to find these key papers. Here are some common documents that you should locate:

  • Power of Attorney – This document allows someone to act on behalf of another person in legal or financial matters. It’s particularly important in situations where the individual can’t act on their own due to absence or incapacity.
  • Medical Proxy – Also known as a healthcare proxy, this is a legal document that names someone to make medical decisions for another person if they’re unable to do so.
  • Advance Directive – An advance directive outlines a person’s wishes regarding their healthcare if they become unable to make decisions for themselves.
  • Living Will – A living will is a type of advance directive that specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions due to illness or incapacity.
  • Life Insurance Policies – These documents detail the terms and conditions of a person’s life insurance coverage.
  • Birth Certificate – A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a person.
  • Military Records – These records provide proof of military service and may be needed for certain benefits.
  • Social Security Card – A Social Security card is issued to every U.S. citizen and permanent resident. It’s often needed for various legal and financial processes.

Having these documents at hand can help ensure their wishes are honored and their affairs are handled appropriately.

Start Thinking About Goals

close up of African American senior woman smiling

Discussing goals with your loved one and the rest of your care team is a vital part of planning for their care. However, there’s nothing wrong with making a start on your own! Begin by creating a list of short-term and long-term goals you hope to achieve.

Ask yourself, what are your primary concerns for your senior family member? What kind of support do you believe they would benefit from? This list can serve as a preliminary draft for when you convene with the rest of your team.

Here are some steps to help you get started:

  • Identify Main Concerns – Start by identifying your main worries for your loved one. This could be anything from their physical health to their emotional well-being or their ability to carry out daily tasks independently.
  • Define Short-Term Goals – Short-term goals could include things like improving their nutrition, increasing their physical activity, or organizing their medications better. These are goals that can be achieved relatively quickly and can lead to immediate improvements in their quality of life.
  • Define Long-Term Goals – Long-term goals might involve more significant changes like home modifications for safety, arranging for ongoing professional care, or setting up legal safeguards for their future. These goals will take more time and planning but can provide lasting benefits.
  • Consider the Type of Support Needed – Think about the types of support that would benefit your loved one. This could mean professional caregiving services, therapy, financial planning, or simply more regular visits from family and friends.

Remember, this list is just a starting point. It’s meant to help guide discussions with your loved one and the rest of the care team. As the conversations progress, you’ll likely revise and add to these goals based on everyone’s input and your loved one’s changing needs.

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Building Your Team

home care provider with husband and wife at bedside

So, you’ve gathered some info…OK, a lot of info. You’ve answered some questions. And, you’ve assessed the health and home safety of your senior family member. Now, it’s time to build your caregiving team! But, who will that consist of and how do you decide? And, what exactly will everyone’s role be through all of this?

Let’s talk about the next step to providing home care to a family member: building your team.

Who is a Caregiver?

young woman and senior adult father

The term “caregiver” is defined as anyone who consistently provides assistance to a person who is sick, elderly, or disabled. When it comes to senior home care, caregivers can be categorized into two main types: family caregivers and professionals.

A family caregiver could be a spouse, relative, friend, or neighbor. In the US, more than one in five individuals provide some form of home care to a family member or someone close to them.

On the other hand, a professional caregiver is an individual whose career revolves around offering assistance, care, or support. These professionals can include nurses, physical therapists, personal care assistants, among others. They can be hired independently or through an agency.

Time to Build Your Team

smiling siblings

Oftentimes a spouse or the child who lives closest to their senior parent becomes the leading caregiver. Alternatively, that primary person could be any family member, neighbor, or friend; because let’s be honest – every situation is unique. No matter who you are, it’s time to ask the question: Who will be part of your team?

It’s important to bear in mind that just because you’re picking out your dream team, doesn’t mean that these are all people you should be counting on 24-hours-per-day, 7-days-a-week (and, you should probably make sure they know that too). Your team should consist of people who can do some hands-on stuff as well as those who can just lend a little support here and there. Remember, a shoulder to cry on and a hand to high-five can be just as important as those who do the “heavy lifting.”

Here are some potential team members to consider putting on your list:

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  • Siblings
  • Spouses
  • In-laws
  • Cousins
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Religious leaders

Family Meeting Time

two women drinking coffee

It’s time to gather the troops. Reach out to your siblings, call your cousins, leave messages for your mom’s favorite neighbor, and even touch base with the church pastor. Why? Because it’s time to convene a family meeting!

Once you’ve assembled your team, schedule a traditional family meeting at a time and place that suits most. Don’t let geographical distance be an issue – leverage modern technology and invite out-of-state family members to join via video call! Also, if it feels appropriate and your senior family member is able, they should participate too.

So, what’s the agenda of this family meeting? It’s about discussing the specifics. Goals, needs, responsibilities, finances – all these topics need to be addressed and sorted out.

Goals

Hopefully, at this point, you’ll already have a few ideas of your own jotted down. If you’ve answered the health and safety assessment questions, you’ll have a pretty good idea of your loved one’s needs. Begin by sharing your notes. Then, have others share their observations, concerns, and opinions. Finally, set some goals. Here are some common home care goals (but, you may add to this list):

  • Continuing to live at home
  • Avoid hospitalization
  • Physical safety
  • Staying social
  • Staying active

Needs

How are you going to help your senior family member attain these goals? What do they need help with? Here are a few checklists of common things seniors may need help with at home to get you thinking:

Household Needs

  • Wash, dry, and fold laundry
  • Cleaning the kitchen
  • Emptying and taking out the garbage
  • Keeping a clean bathroom
  • Basic homemaking (i.e. dusting, vacuuming, and tidying)
  • Making the bed
  • Keeping track of bills and paying them on time
  • Assistance with feeding and grooming pets

Personal Care Needs

  • Bathing safely and effectively, including washing the whole body and hair
  • Brushing, combing, and doing hair
  • Brushing teeth
  • Shaving
  • Skincare
  • Getting dressed
  • Toileting
  • Incontinence care
  • Mobility
  • Transferring

Nutritional Needs

  • Grocery shopping, including loading and unloading groceries, as well as organizing and putting them away
  • Meal prep
  • Help with eating
  • Ensuring a balanced diet or specific dietary needs are met

Health Needs

  • Medication management and reminders
  • Blood sugar checks
  • Blood pressure checks
  • Medication refills
  • Vital monitoring (for certain medical conditions)
  • Helping with prescribed exercise or therapy
  • Setting up doctor appointments and attending

Companionship Needs

  • Accompanying to appointments, stores, or other social activities
  • Foster hobbies and interests through friendship
    • Reading together, playing games, doing crafts, etc.
  • Providing transportation

Don’t forget – caregiving and support may need to be altered as illnesses progress or other circumstances change!

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Who Can Help?

Asain couple with lawyer

Assigning duties and responsibilities will largely depend on the location of family members and the amount of time they can and are willing to contribute. What role should each person play? Is it feasible to hire any external assistance? When determining who can help, be explicit about the care and financial requirements. Is there someone who may not have time to spare but can contribute financially? Don’t forget to consider your senior loved one’s preferences. To avoid any future confusion (especially in a large family!), document everything in writing.

Financial Planning

There’s no one-size-fits-all for being financially prepared to care for a family member at home. Regardless, here are some important considerations:

  • After establishing needs and goals, research the costs associated with any home modifications, mobility aids, or other outside help you may hire.
  • Does your aging family member have savings that can support any home care needs?
  • Who on your team can afford to help (whether it’s by giving money or missing work once in a while)?
  • Investigate financial help
    • Does your loved one receive Medicare?
    • Medicaid?
    • Social Security?
    • Is your loved one eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?
  • Examine insurance and retirement plans, including long-term care insurance
  • Who will make financial decisions on behalf of your loved one?

Making a Plan and Putting it Into Action

plan

This is where it all comes together; all your info-gathering, investigating, and talking-it-out with family. This is where you make a home care plan and put it into action. Make sure to have all documents and notes handy and, if you couldn’t accomplish everything in one meeting, get together with your team again!

So, how do you start?

Get Organized

polanning

By this point, you know your senior loved one’s needs and you’ve established some goals. Now, it’s time to organize all the facts and decide who is doing what.

Match Team Members with Duties

teen helping grandma

Take into account the strengths and limitations of all team members. Understand that some may have more time to contribute than others, and that’s perfectly fine! Discuss with your team and your senior loved one the duties they feel most comfortable handling.

For instance, perhaps your eldest sibling has a nurturing nature and is keen to spend a few evenings a week with mom, helping to prepare dinner? Or maybe a neighbor has volunteered to accompany her on weekly grocery shopping trips? There could be times when your kids have soccer practice during the week – is there someone willing to be the “on-call” helper when you’re unable to step in?

Consider these potential areas of support and aim to assign team members based on their strengths, limitations, and availability:

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  • Household: Cleaning, tidying, laundry, and so on.
  • Personal Care: Bathing, dressing, grooming, and so forth.
  • Nutritional: Meal preparation, grocery shopping, and similar tasks.
  • Health: Medication management, glucose checks, driving to medical appointments, etc.
  • Companionship: Providing company, friendship, and other forms of assistance.
  • Financial & Legal: Managing bill payments, maintaining important documents, etc.

Consider Outside Help

A professional caregiver or agency can provide assistance, care, or support to your home care plan. Here are a few options to consider hiring for help:

Personal Care Services/Home Care Aides

A home care aide or other professional provides in-home custodial care such as help with activities of daily living (ADL) like bathing, eating, and grooming. They will often assist with mobility, meal preparation, and even social and cognitive activities. A home care aide can be a personal care assistant (PCA) or a companion as well.

Nursing Services/Home Health Aides

A home health aide or home health care service consists of licensed medical professionals. Certified nursing assistants (CNA), physical therapists (PT), and occupational therapists (OT) are among the most common. Home health care can include a variety of practices, including rehabilitation, vital sign monitoring, and medication administration. Those with chronic conditions or ongoing health concerns benefit the most from these services.

Meal Services

A PCA or home care aide can assist with meal prep. Alternatively, a community food service like Meals on Wheels can be used. Or, another great option is a meal delivery service. Today, there are various companies that ship fresh ingredients, premade meals, and whole kits right from their kitchens to your front door.

Housekeeping/Cleaning Services

Support comes in all shapes and sizes. If you’re in need of additional help around the house, then hiring a housekeeping or cleaning service could be for you! These are businesses that will perform general cleaning or maintenance tasks for a fee.

Write a Care Plan

assisted living

Writing a home care plan can be easier than you may think. It has a simple formula to follow: objective, action, and implementation. Use the medical info, history, and other facts you have gathered in the previous steps to decide specifics. Here’s an example:

Objective – what you wish to accomplishAction – how you will accomplish the objectiveImplementation – performing the action, recording results
Mom needs help grocery shopping and preparing meals.– Oldest sibling can take mom shopping on Wednesdays.
– Sign up for a meal delivery service to supplement and provide snacks.
– Oldest sibling takes mom shopping every week.
– Oldest sibling receives meal deliveries and helps mom prep for the week.
– Record likes, dislikes, and how services are working out, adjusting as we go.
Mom sometimes requires certain assistance in the bathroom, but not all the time.
Mom wants to be more independent when showering.
– Modify bathtub, install shower chair and grab bars.– Find a contractor for bathroom remodeling.
– Install changes.

The plan that you write for your family member can include as little or as much as you need. There’s no limit to how much you can help someone you love! And, there may not always be only one clear action for achieving an objective. Each plan is unique, just like the family/team implementing it!

Put Your Plan Into Action

caregiver home care

Now you and your team can start providing home care for your senior family member! Follow your plan, but remember that caregiving and supports may need to be altered as illnesses progress or other circumstances change! If frequent care is necessary, share a daily log, and don’t forget to include feelings on what’s working and what’s not. A daily log could include things like:

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  • Meals
  • Medications taken
  • Bathroom use
  • Housekeeping performed
  • Notes

Caring for Yourself

resting

Caring for a family member can be an incredibly rewarding experience. For many, it serves as an opportunity to express love and gratitude to a parent, or someone close, in recognition of their lifetime of care and protection. It allows you the chance to reciprocate the nurturing you received growing up, a way of saying, “Thank you.”

However, while fulfilling in numerous ways, caregiving can also be stressful. Many family caregivers often find themselves spread too thin, struggling to balance their personal lives with the demands of caring for someone outside their home. The transition from being a child to a care provider can also be challenging for some.

Feeling both the emotional and physical toll of such a demanding role is common. But remember, taking care of yourself is equally as important as caring for your loved one. As the American Psychological Association emphasizes, it’s crucial to balance caring for yourself and your loved one, and to consider your own physical and psychological health.

The National Institute on Aging also advises that caregiving for an older person often requires teamwork with family, friends, or formal caregivers. So, don’t hesitate to enlist help and share responsibilities where you can.

What is Caregiver Burnout?

stressed man

Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that comes from neglecting your own emotional, physical, and spiritual health (Cleveland Clinic).

Sometimes family caregivers get so busy taking care of a loved one that they forget about their own needs. They often feel overwhelmed trying to separate their duties from their personal lives; spouses, children, friends, and work can become a difficult juggling act. Financial frustrations and lack of control over a loved one’s declining health can also create feelings of guilt. Physical and mental fatigue begin taking a heavy toll if left unchecked.

Warning Signs Of Caregiver Stress & Burnout

stressed home care

Every person’s experience is unique. Caregiver stress, and the subsequent burnout, can manifest under a variety of circumstances. Sometimes, it can be difficult to recognize when you’re nearing a breaking point until the stress becomes overwhelming. A study by the CDC found that over 50% of family caregivers experience declines in health due to stress, impacting their ability to provide care.

Here are some common signs that you may be experiencing caregiver burnout:

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  • Frequently feeling tired
  • Becoming easily irritated
  • Experiencing feelings of anger or frustration towards the loved one you’re caring for
  • Feeling detached from your loved one
  • Experiencing feelings of sadness or depression
  • Feeling indifferent towards your loved one
  • Being in denial about your loved one’s health condition
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Withdrawing from social interactions
  • Feeling anxious about responsibilities
  • Experiencing feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Struggling to maintain a balanced diet
  • Increasing alcohol consumption or misusing prescription drugs

It’s important to note that these symptoms can develop gradually. So, recognizing them early and seeking support can help mitigate the impact of caregiver burnout.

Self-Care

self care skin

Do not forget how important your own health and well-being are. If you don’t feel well, you won’t be able to care for anyone else effectively and wholly. Self-care is essential to eliminating caregiver burnout.

So, what is self-care? It’s any conscious act that a person engages in to promote their own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Physical self-care includes sleeping well, eating right, and getting enough exercise.

Mental self-care includes doing things that keep your mind sharp and healthy. Hobbies like reading are important for mental stimulation. And, fostering feelings of acceptance and self-compassion helps you grow a healthier inner dialogue.

Emotional self-care includes healthy coping mechanisms for anger, anxiety, and sadness, as well as improving your ability to process such emotions. Emotional self-care can be resting, healthy eating, or even meditating. It’s also important to nurture relationships with family and friends.

Spiritual self-care includes anything that fosters your sense of meaning or connection with the universe. It can be praying, attending a religious service, meditating, or just enjoying the outdoors to connect with nature.

How to Care for Yourself

self care senior loady

Providing care for a loved one at home can be stressful, even for the most resilient among us. Therefore, it’s crucial to utilize tools and strategies that can assist in managing this stress. So, how can you effectively manage caregiver stress and ensure your own well-being?

Ask for Help

You don’t have to shoulder all the responsibilities alone. If help is offered, accept it graciously. If no assistance has been offered yet, don’t hesitate to ask. Keep your team engaged and involved!

Seek Support

Remember your caregiving team? Hopefully, it includes individuals who provide emotional support, whether through a sympathetic ear or encouraging words. Now is the time to turn to them. Staying connected and receiving support can work wonders! Having your feelings validated and receiving encouragement are vital for maintaining emotional and mental health. Community support groups can also be significant sources of comfort and understanding.

Consult with a Counselor

Speaking with a healthcare professional or counselor can be incredibly beneficial. These experts can teach you coping strategies for stress and help you strengthen relationships that may be strained due to caregiver stress. The Mayo Clinic suggests that counseling can provide a safe space to express feelings and cope with challenges.

Get Outside Help – Respite

Taking a break might be just what you and your senior loved one need! And, respite care can help.

Respite care is any service or support that provides short-term relief to caregivers. Respite enables those who regularly care for a loved one to take time away from their usual duties. It can take place at home through a home care agency, at a center with adult day services, or at residential facilities.

At Home

Depending on your loved one’s needs or health conditions, a home care agency can provide companionship, assistance with ADLs, medication reminders, and even homemaker services like cleaning or meal prep.

Adult Day Services

Adult day services offer professional care, socialization, and enrichment opportunities in community-based group settings. These programs usually provide health monitoring, meals and snacks, assistance with ADLs, social activities, exercise, and much more.

Residential Facilities

Assisted living facilities or nursing homes may offer care to non-residents on an as-needed basis. Respite in a residential facility can include overnight stays, health monitoring, medication management, skilled nursing, exercise, and more.

Providing Home Care to a Senior Loved One

caring hands

Caring for a senior family member can be equal parts rewarding and stressful. At times, everything will go smoothly – just as planned. Other times, you’ll feel like you can’t do anything right. Throughout all of its ups and downs, never lose sight of why you chose to become a caregiver. Know that your loved one’s quality of life is better because of you.

More Help for Providing Home Care to a Senior Loved One

help is here in a text bubble

If you’re providing home care to a family member, you don’t have to do it alone! Whether you’re looking for financial assistance, agency help, or something else, here are some additional resources to get you going:

SeniorResource.com

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Originally published February 12, 2024

Author(s):

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