- DR. MARION'S METHOD
- CAREGIVER TRAINING
Woman's Day’s Guide to Caregiving: Common Mistakes
Use these four tips to prevent stressful situations when tending to the elderly
Caregiving for an elderly family member can be complicated and overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. Even after you’ve discussed housing options and made your home a safe haven for your loved one, there are still issues that can arise. Read on for tips to ease the process and make your transition to caretaker a smooth one.
1. Mistake: Not asking for help.
“Even if you have the greatest intentions in the world, caring for someone else is tough and should not be done alone,” says Paul Hogan, coauthor of Stages of Senior Care. “Reach out to friends, family and church groups. One woman I know (who takes care of an elderly parent) carries a stack of cards in her purse with tasks she needs help with written on them. When people ask if they can help, she whips one out and gives it to them.”
2.Mistake: Considering it a sprint, rather than a marathon.
“You don’t know how long it’s going to be and you can’t live in crisis mode for years,” says Amy D’Aprix, PhD, founder of the Caregiver’s Coach. “That’s why figuring out a manageable long-term solution is so important.”
3. Mistake: Not having proper documents ready.
Kathleen Kelly, executive director of the Family Caregiver Alliance, advises that you have three important documents filled out and on hand: an advance directive, which conveys decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time; a power of attorney or durable power of attorney for health care, which appoints a person to handle health affairs if the loved one is unable to do so; and a will, which directs what will happen to any assets left after he or she passes. “Without these legal documents in place, it makes it really hard to step in when something needs to be addressed,” Kelly says.
4. Mistake: No “me” time.
“Even though it’s tough, make time for yourself,” says Marion Somers, PhD, author of Elder Care Made Easier. “Just 10 or 15 minutes in the morning or evening for a walk, meditation—whatever—will go a long way toward keeping your sanity.”
For more insight into caring for elderly family members, visit our Designated Daughter blog.
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