Those who care for their aging family members are dedicated, selfless individuals who deeply the desire the absolute best for their loved ones. However, caregivers often face challenges, and it’s important to recognize those challenges and if possible, seek to remedy them. Landis Adult Day Services is here to come alongside caregivers to make the best decision for their loved ones.
- Caregiver burnout: This is one of the most common challenges. While family members who care for aging relatives are motivated by love, it’s often a sizeable commitment of time and energy and caregivers can quickly become exhausted. Caregivers need breaks and support so that when they feel overwhelmed or discouraged while caring for their loved ones, the break can reduce the stress.
- Financial strain: Caring for a loved one often means allowing them to move into your home. While this is not always the case, many families decide to share a house because the close proximity makes it easier for the caregiver to tend to their relative and there is an increased measure of safety for the senior in having a loved one so close by. However, this can be an expensive adjustment.
- Stress: Feeling the weight of your aging loved one’s wellbeing on your shoulders can cause significant amounts of stress. Often, caregivers are not trained professionals – they are simply well-meaning family members. Caregiving can cause anxiety and stress for those seeking to make the best decisions for their family members.
- Lack of resources: Many caregivers are ill-equipped to care for aging loved ones due to the fact that their loved one may have needs they are unable to meet. This is particularly true if the senior is no longer able to walk or care for themselves. Caregivers must ensure that their house (or their relative’s house) is safe and accessible for a wheelchair or walker and they must obtain the necessary resources for their loved one. This often means haggling with insurance companies and navigating expensive equipment purchases.
- Family conflict: Unfortunately, the primary caregiver of a loved one may find themselves in the middle of a family conflict. Other well-meaning family members may have differing opinions on the quantity, quality, and type of care that is being provided. This adds unnecessary stress on the caregiver, who should be able to depend on the support of others.
- A loss of self-identity: When all of a caregiver’s time, attention, and energy is devoted into caring for their aging loved one, it can be easy for them to lose their sense of self-identity and become consumed with their daily tasks. With little or no time to themselves, caregivers can become overwhelmed. It’s important for them to take time to be alone, to relax, and to do something that they enjoy.
- Feelings of isolation: Being a caregiver to an aging loved one is a monumental task. Other people may not understand the commitment, which can lead to a caregiver feeling as though they are alone with no one to share the responsibility.
- Sleep deprivation: Sleep for caregivers can be severely disrupted, depending on the needs of their aging loved ones. It’s important for caregivers to find others to help them so that they can ensure they’re getting the rest they need in order to continue caring for their loved one to the best of their abilities.
- Depression: It can be incredibly painful to watch a loved one decline in physical, mental, or cognitive abilities. Caring for an aging family member can take a toll on the mental health of the caregiver.
- Care decisions: A caregiver is often not a medical professional, which means that it can be extra challenging for them to navigate the best care that their loved one may need. Caregiving also comes with a whole host of questions. It’s important to consider when the next level of care is needed, when to consider residential placement, or discuss end of life planning. It can be tricky and painful to navigate.
Caregiving is a considerable commitment of energy and time and while it is a worthy and selfless endeavor, it is imperative that caregivers have support surrounding them. They will need advice, encouragement, help, and respite care. In order to serve their aging family members well, caregivers must first ensure that they are taking care of themselves. Landis Adult Day Services is here to be a trusted partner and help caregivers make the best possible decision for an aging loved one as well as their whole family.