Support for Elder Caregivers
Care for the elderly can be difficult and stressful for a number of reasons. The challenges presented to adults who care for the elderly, who are either family or friends, often create issues within their own families. Unfortunately these issues can lead to deterioration of other relationships.
The care of the elderly used to fall on the shoulders of large families when older adults were no longer able to care for themselves. But in today's society of smaller families and more mobile adults the elderly aren't always living in the same community as their children.
At times the elderly person must be moved from their own home to the community where their caregiver lives. This creates stress for the older adult as well.
Support for elder caregivers is not usually addressed in small or large communities leaving their needs to be met on their own. When caregivers aren't aware of resources that might be available or aren't able to look themselves this places the care of the caregiver and the older adult in jeopardy.
The added physical and emotional stress of caring for someone else can be addressed in several different fashions. If the older adult lives within the home of the caregiver or in another home the caregiver will usually take on the responsibility of housekeeping. This adds time and energy that must be expended each day. Finding a high school student who might be interested in helping weekly by doing some of the heavier housekeeping duties will take the burden off of the caregivers shoulders.
Caregivers often find that by talking to others who have some of the same issues of caring for adults who once cared for them they can work through the emotional upheaval. Groups of people who are in just that position can be found in communities or online . Try to find a group of caregivers who are caring for older adults who have some of the same issues.
For instance, if it's possible, find a group of caregivers who are caring for older adults with broken hips, recovering alcoholics, people with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease or older adults who require specific types of physical care. The support received through the group will make more sense in the life of the caregiver.
These groups are also a great resource for finding help in the community. Many of these caregivers have gone before you in finding help with financial issues, nursing home placement, in-home care or housekeeping duties. They'll have suggestions about meal planning, work arrangements and will be able to help you brainstorm individualized plans for your specific situation.
Support for elder caregivers will help them find resources in the community to address the needs of the older adult and the specific needs of the caregiver related to their work or family situations. Learn to rely on these resources and don't try to 'go it alone'. The stress of working without a support system can damage your existing relationships and even the relationship you have with the older adult.