When a loved one is finding it difficult to finish an activity, our typical instinct, with the very best of intentions, is usually to step in and do it ourselves. But is this really helping a senior loved one – or could it be hindering?
Truth be told, there’s a fine line between ensuring an older adult’s well-being and depriving the senior of the self-worth and purpose which is vital to our health.
Dr. Barry J. Jacobs, clinical psychologist, family therapist, and healthcare consultant who co-authored the book AARP Meditations for Caregivers, shares from his own experience with caring for his mom: “With all my best intentions and concerted energies, I mostly succeeded in curbing her independence and squelching her spirit. She didn’t see me as her caring son so much as the overbearing usurper of roles she cherished.”
The following tips will help family caregivers more fully recognize when to intervene – and when to step back:
- Employ patience. Arrange the day to allow sufficient time for the senior loved one to work through tasks at a pace that is most comfortable. When we’re hurried and harried, we are very likely to move in and take over. A little extra time makes a huge difference in improving the person’s self-confidence.
- Point out the positives. Although it’s true that certain activities may have become too tough to manage independently, identify work-around solutions that make certain the person can continue to be involved in the task relating to the person’s particular skills. For instance, if loading clothes into and out of the washer and dryer is cumbersome, the individual may still be capable of sorting and folding clothing.
- Welcome input. Have a genuine, open, heart-to-heart conversation with your family member to make clear his or her expectations concerning your role in providing care support. Is the senior struggling with yielding specific aspects of everyday life? What are the most urgent needs? Companionship and other emotional care? Physical assistance with ambulation, bathing, and getting dressed? Keeping up the home and yard? Work together to create a strategy in order to meet these needs in a way that is acceptable to both yourself and the senior.
It’s likewise a wise idea to explore the notion of enlisting the help of a competent in-home senior care provider, such as Home With You Senior Care. Oftentimes, family caregivers become stressed with taking care of housework, meal preparation, running errands, transportation, and personal care needs, leaving little time to simply enjoy spending quality time with the older adult they love.
Home With You Senior Care, Columbia senior care experts, offers a complete range of individualized services to address all of these needs and so much more, making sure that senior loved ones in Baltimore and the surrounding communities are safe, while empowering them to remain as independent as possible. Contact our Columbia senior care team at 410-756-0959 to ask about a complimentary in-home assessment, and strike a healthy life balance – both for the senior you love, and yourself. Check out the locations that we serve in the Columbia and surrounding areas here.