If you have an elderly relative that you are caring for, whether they live with you or you just check in on them each day, it can be a wonderful thing to do. It can be a full-time job in itself because there is a lot to consider when it comes to looking after someone else. If you have them in your home, then it is important to pace yourself as there is a lot to consider and think about, especially if you want to avoid feeling burnt out and exhausted. In order to help you to look after yourself as well as your loved one, here are some considerations.
Understand the level of care that is needed
It can be an overwhelming thing to care for someone else, and can often feel like you can’t see the forest for the trees. There may be such a long list of things to do, that you forget to see some of the bigger picture, from time to time. One of the first steps is to assess the level of care that they really need. How much can they do themselves? From there you can create a list of daily tasks that need to be done, and then you can assess how much supervision they will need from you each day. If they’ll be fine for a little while with a book or their favourite show after lunch, then you can get on with chores or go to the supermarket, for example. Just keep a note of things and monitor how it all goes.
Get help when needed
There will be different levels of help that can be required when caring for a loved one. It may be that you need physical help from another to move your loved one in and out of bed, for example. You may need someone just to comfort you and be a sounding board, when you feel overwhelmed or upset at their deterioration.
You may need help down the line when it comes to funeral planning and looking into things like headstones or coffin plates. The kind of help that you will need as a carer can vary greatly, but make sure that you get the help that you need. Ask for it, and don’t turn it down when offered.
Reduce financial pressure
When you care for someone, you may have to give up work or at least reduce your hours, in order to be there for them when they really need it. There can just be a generally big financial burden on the family, so if you’re stressed about finances or worried about them, then it will mean a lot more pressure on you, which isn’t what you want. Depending on their situation and where you live, there are some grants and financial support that is available.
You can also claim an allowance for being a full-time carer, if that is what you are. If you can reduce how much you are paying for care, such as having them live with you rather than going into a care home, then it can reduce the financial burden by quite a bit (but, of course, it needs to be right for you and your family).
The best suggestion that I can give is to treat the elderly person as you would want to be treated yourself. Just give it your best shot.