Sponsored Content

2/3/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Until they’re thrust into the role of caregiver, few are really prepared for the job.

Many more people have suddenly become caregivers during the pandemic because they’ve opted to bring a parent or loved one into their home and create a multigenerational household. Others have pulled loved ones out of long-term care settings permanently.

Maybe you’re now sharing a roof with a senior relative or are responsible for caring for one.

Though such work can be rewarding, it also entails a considerable amount of emotional, physical, and financial strain. You’re likely to need resources and advice to get you through the tough days and plan for the obstacles that may come.

“How to Be a Caregiver (https://nyti.ms/3gR3mSR)” from the New York Times can help. It provides an overview of preparing for caregiving and need-to-know information in five categories—”six things to know,” “prepare and organize,” “finding help,” “self-care,” and “care during the pandemic.”

Among the “things to know” are:

  • Respect the autonomy of the person you’re caring for and include them in decisions about their care.
  • Incorporate moments of joy – music, games, and outings – with your loved one.
  • Care for yourself by taking short breaks during the day. Meditating and getting exercise can help, and so can saying “yes” when others offer to help.
  • Find a caregiver support group.

If you have the luxury of not facing an emergency and you have time to plan for future caregiving responsibilities, do it.

According to the guide, that advanced planning includes talking with parents and siblings about what to do if something happens – who can provide care, what kind of care your parent wants, and information on finances, doctors, and so forth. For help on getting touchy conversations started, see the Conversation Project (https://bit.ly/2LEX25C).

Ask loved ones to get their paperwork in order well before a crisis. That includes advance health care directives, wills, and information about their finances.

Also, consider how well suited a loved one’s home is for aging in place and what modifications you make to improve safety.

After all, the vast majority of those over age 65 say they want to age in place. Yet just 10% of U.S. homes have key features to accommodate older residents, according to Old Housing, New Needs: Are U.S. Homes Ready for an Aging Population? (https://bit.ly/3ah8y1c)   

In addition, research other housing options, even if you plan to care for someone at home. Things change, and if your parent suddenly needs nursing care, you won’t be forced to make housing and long-term care choices amid a crisis.

Other valuable insights from the guide include self-care for caregivers, watching out for caregiver burnout, and finding respite care. It also features a timely section about caring for a COVID-19 patient.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff