When an older adult begins to need assistance with daily activities, we instinctively want to offer as much aid as possible. This can backfire and make them feel like they’re losing the one thing they want so bad: to live independently. When your senior enters their later years, you should sit down and evaluate their lifestyle and what alternatives could be best for them. The good news is that elder care services have never been more accessible regardless of what people select.
If you want to be a family caregiver for your senior, that is a great choice, but sometimes elder care can be the helping hand you need to take a break. You may not be able to do everything for your senior, or your loved one may feel like you are being overbearing. Often, elder care allows a senior to have the help they need without being smothering or taking away a seniors choice. It can be a fine balance, and it’s not always easy.
Here are a few useful ways you can offer support to your senior without taking away their choices or unknowingly controlling them.
Communication is essential for this relationship to work. You may be feeling like you need to help plan everything out for your loved one, but this can be stressful when they aren’t choosing what happens with their day or life. Instead of assuming what they need help with or making plans without them, sit down and talk to them.
Find out what they want help with and make a plan of action together. This allows you to know what is going on in their lives but also provides support where it is needed and wanted. Your relationship with your mom and dad is changing as they become older, but it is still crucial to show them the respect every parent deserves.
Don’t Jump In Too Quickly
You may be thinking, “These are my parents I have to help.” Just because your mom or dad has mentioned something doesn’t mean you need to jump in and be involved right away. Your senior mom or dad is much more capable than you may think, and they may have already found someone willing to help.
Even if your mom or dad needs help once in a while, you may start assuming they will always need help, and that’s just not the case. Take a step back and observe how they’re living. Once you notice habits that are unhealthy or things going wrong over and over, then it’s time to step in.
Focus on What They Can Do
Just because they’re old doesn’t mean they need help with everything. They may not be able to run marathons, but they can still do most things without you. Only offer help when it is something you know they can’t do or have never done.
Maintaining as much of one’s independence in daily life as possible is important for seniors’ mental and physical wellbeing. You can offer to do things with them that they already know how to do and things they are comfortable with. Elder care can be there to keep them engaged in activities they enjoy, which increases overall happiness and satisfaction with life.