When a loved one is struggling to complete an activity, our typical instinct, with the very best of intentions, is generally to step in and take care of it ourselves. But is this genuinely helping a senior loved one – or can it be hindering?
The stark reality is, there is a fine line between ensuring an older adult’s well-being and depriving the senior of the self-worth and purpose which is extremely important to our health.
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 with taking care of 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 advice can help family caregivers better recognize when to step up – and when to step back:
- Exercise patience. Plan the day to permit adequate time for the senior loved one to work through projects at a pace that is most comfortable. When we’re hurried and harried, we are prone to jump in and take over. Just a little extra time will make a big difference in improving the person’s self-esteem.
- Accentuate the positives. While it’s correct that specific activities might have grown to be too challenging to handle independently, identify work-around options that make certain the senior can stay involved in the activity based on his or her specific strengths. If loading clothes into and out of the washer and dryer is cumbersome, the individual may possibly still be capable of sorting and folding clothes.
- Encourage feedback. Have a truthful, open, heart-to-heart discussion along with your loved one to make clear his or her expectations regarding your role in providing care support. Is the older adult having difficulties with giving up certain tasks of daily life? Do you know the most urgent needs? Companionship along with other emotional care? Physical needs with ambulation, bathing, and getting dressed? Maintaining the home and yard? Come together to devise a plan to meet these needs in a fashion that is agreeable to both yourself and the senior.
It is likewise a good idea to examine the notion of enlisting the help of a competent in-home senior care provider, such as Compassionate Nursing Services. 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 appreciate spending quality time with the older adult they love.
Compassionate Nursing Services, a top St. Louis home care agency, offers a complete range of personalized services to address all of these needs and much more, making sure that older adults in St. Louis and the surrounding communities are safe and secure, while empowering them to stay as independent as possible. Contact us at 314-432-4312 to ask about a free in-home assessment, and strike a healthy life balance – both for the senior you love, and yourself.