Many caregivers go about doing everything it takes to take care of a loved one all by themselves. It can definitely be done, but it’s extremely stressful. Caregivers who do it all alone are more likely to experience caregiver burnout. Instead of doing everything by yourself, talk to your family about pitching in. When you do, work together to divvy up tasks to be assign to different family members so that everyone can help by covering certain duties.
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There’s a lot that goes into taking care of an aging loved one, but perhaps one of the most surprising is the fact that there are quite a few legal matters to attend to.
If your loved one doesn’t have an estate plan, it would be a good idea to get the details ironed out so things go more smoothly when the time comes and they pass. If they are hiring in-home help or if they are getting ready to move into an assisted living facility, it would be helpful to have a member of your family who is willing to go over the details in all the paperwork that has to be signed.
It’s also important to have a family member who is willing to work with an attorney in case someone who is caring for your loved one is negligent. For example, it’s estimated that around three million people experience bedsores in the United States. This is ultimately due to negligence, which means you may have a legal case against the nursing home, hospital, or long-term care facility where your loved one was staying.
Home and Lawn Maintenance
Have a family member who likes spending time outside? Or maybe there’s a younger member of your family who can pitch in and help? Give them the job of taking care of the lawn!
The most obvious job associated with this role is mowing the grass, but they should be responsible for taking care of outdoor spaces during the winter too. That means shoveling driveways and walkways, as well as putting down salt to prevent slips and falls on the ice.
There are other fun things they can do in the yard! They can plant a vegetable garden for your loved one to enjoy in the summer, they can cut flowers and bring them inside to put in a vase, and they can set up stations to feed the birds so your loved one can watch them out the window.
Maintaining the lawn is a big job, but so is taking care of chores inside the house. There are a lot of chores a member of your family can do. Some of the most common that seniors need help with include:
- Cleaning countertops
- Taking out the trash
- Doing laundry
- Changing sheets
- Scrubbing the shower
Come up with a master list of all the chores that need to be done around the house. Then, determine what they are willing to help with. Talk to your senior loved one about what they can still handle, and consider hiring a cleaning service to help fill in the gaps.
Helping your loved one with self-care can be one of the most mentally exhausting duties because many seniors are uncomfortable admitting they need help in this area. Choose a family member they really trust to take on this role to make it easier.
Self-care might include things like helping them cook, brushing their hair, or helping them get dressed. It may also include helping them bathe.
This person can also make it easier for your loved one to care for themselves safely. For example, they may want to install grab bars in the bathroom or set up a vanity in the bedroom where they can sit while they brush their hair and put on their makeup.
The golden years are no time to slow down! Many seniors have plenty of places to go, but getting there safely can be a challenge. Instead of driving when they shouldn’t or staying home because they have no way to get where they are going, ask a family member to be their transportation.
This person may drive your loved one to medical appointments, take them shopping, and drop them off at social functions. Depending on when they need rides, this job may have to be divided up between family members who have flexible schedules.
Medication and Health Management
Nearly 40 percent of seniors take at least five prescription drugs. Some take many more. It’s important that someone in your family knows what these medications are and what their effects are. It’s also important for this person to organize medications into containers so that your senior loved one knows exactly what to take and when.
It’s also a good idea for this person to make sure all medications go through the same pharmacy to avoid drug interactions, and to create medication documents that can be taken to appointments so doctors know what can and can’t be prescribed.
Although everyone can pitch in and provide some companionship, it’s also a good idea to assign this job to one or two family members who aren’t stressed about all the other stuff that goes into taking care of an aging adult. They are a lot more likely to have fun when they aren’t talking about medication or household chores!
There are a lot of fun activities this person can plan to do with your loved one, and they can even plan family get togethers where everyone spends time together. A few ideas include:
- Bird watching
- Scrapbooking old photos
- Doing a puzzle
- Watching a movie
- Going for walks
- Planting things in the garden
A lot goes into taking care of an aging loved one. Instead of trying to do it all by yourself, reach out to your family for help. From brothers and sisters to grandchildren, aunts, and uncles, there are probably more people around who would be willing to take on one of these roles than you think.