Care giving for an aging parent or loved one can seem daunting but it can also be extremely rewarding. Whether you are a licensed, contracted caregiver or a family member taking care of your loved one, here are some tips to help you stay positive and create a comfortable environment for everyone:
1. Act from love, not from a sense of duty.
Caregiving is about one person helping another. Caregivers often feel obligated because their parent took care of them—but providing care is a choice. Let go of your guilt, recognize you are not perfect and do your best. And if you lose your temper, let it go. Tomorrow is another day.
2. Educate yourself about health conditions.
This makes it easier to understand their actions and advocate for them. Accompany them to appointments, do research online, talk to a care manager and contact your local Area Agency on Aging for resources.
3. Take time to listen.
This will help you fully understand your loved one. Consider recording and preserving their memories. A scenic drive can be another opportunity to have a heart-to-heart and get outside. And don’t forget to laugh together over a good joke or humorous situation. Find the funny side of care giving. Believe me, it’s there.
4. Care for yourself.
Staying healthy helps ensure that you can remain calm and compassionate. Slow down, breathe deep, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods and make time for yourself to rejuvenate.
5. Honor your loved one’s spiritual needs.
A connection with a higher power can be important in the healing process, and attending weekly service can provide social interaction. Take your loved one to their favorite church or place of worship on a specially selected day of the week.