How to Become a Senior Caregiver for Someone You Love

June 1, 2023 | Caregiving

Life is unpredictable; we never know what will happen next, and this also applies to the health and wellness of those we love.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are suddenly caring for a parent or older family member, adjusting to this change can feel overwhelming and challenging. When this happens, it’s important to take time to fully understand the role, what is expected of you and how to provide the best care for your loved one.

As a senior care provider in Auburn, Indiana, Astral at Auburn is ready to help you begin this journey by sharing information on how to become a senior caregiver.

Focus on the Future

No two aging journeys are the same, and there isn’t a specific instruction handbook with all the answers. The best way to adjust to your new role as a caregiver is to accept and embrace this new journey. 

Focusing on the future can look different for everyone, but it’s important not to dwell on “what ifs” or any regrets about the situation.

A positive mindset can go a long way and make all the difference, even in uncertain and scary situations. Look forward to a bright future and focus on how you can support and improve your parent or loved one’s life.

Do Your Research

Whether your loved one has received a sudden health diagnosis or they’ve needed extra assistance for a long time, it’s difficult to know how to step in as a caregiver, regardless of how much you already know about their situation.

Your loved one might have had an unexpected injury or is recovering from surgery, or they might have suddenly developed a chronic health problem. Either way, the more you learn about caregiving practices, the better you’ll be able to understand your loved one’s condition and provide the proper support.

Speak regularly with healthcare providers to understand:

  • Your parent or loved one’s condition or health status 
  • Any symptoms to be aware of 
  • The healing process
  • Long-term care plans

In addition, plenty of online resources are available, including Astral at Auburn’s senior living blog. By doing your research, you’ll be more confident of what to expect and be able to further visualize what your caregiving role will look like.

Practice Self-Care

For many caregivers, it can become easy to put the needs of their loved ones above their own. This is a natural response, especially when one is dedicated to providing excellent care, but it can also negatively impact the health of the caregiver.

While it might seem like the priority of a caregiver is to focus all attention on going above and beyond, this mindset can take a toll on the caregiver over time. The more a person focuses all their energy on others while neglecting their own needs, caregiver burnout can occur. 

Caregiver burnout is a common experience. In the United States alone, over 41 million people provide some form of offered and unpaid care to a friend or family member. According to a recent report from Blue Cross Blue Shield, in which they surveyed 6.7 million of their subscribers who defined themselves as caregivers, 57% reported feelings of stress, anxiety and even depression in some cases. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of strategies to implement into your caregiving routine to help you stave away caregiver stress and burnout and help you know when it’s time to reconnect with your own needs and practice much-needed self-care:

  • Relax and Unwind: Get enough sleep, spend at least 15 minutes meditating, take a long bath and turn off all electronic devices to focus on a hobby or passion.
  • Get Active: Make time for at least 15-30 minutes of exercise a day to significantly reduce your stress levels and feel recharged.
  • Focus on What You Love: Spend time reaching out to friends and family, and be sure you aren’t neglecting the passions that make you the happiest.

Accept Help When Needed

After a while, it might become apparent that you are no longer able to provide care for someone you love. This could be because your loved one’s condition has become more complex, or you’ve realized they might benefit from transitioning into a senior living community. 

If you need a helping hand, however, reach out to family members and trusted friends to see if they can contribute to your care schedule. For instance, ask your family and friends if they could:

  • Drive your loved one to doctor’s appointments
  • Pick up groceries or other necessities
  • Help with medication management
  • Spend some time with your loved one 

If your loved one’s health has reached a point where they need professional care, it can be an emotional decision, but remember that it is likely what’s best for your family. 

At Astral at Auburn, our senior care community in Auburn, Indiana, is dedicated to providing an environment where each resident can live their life to the fullest.

We invite you to learn more about how Astral at Auburn can help you and your family by contacting a member of our team.

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