Caring for Older Parents: Skills to Be a Caregiver

Caring for Older Parents

Disclaimer: Elise Ho, aka “Dr. Ho” is a Holistic Health & Life Coach. Dr. Ho is NOT a medical doctor, licensed therapist, lawyer, or a bevy of other things. Products or services that Dr. Ho believes in are the only ones that she recommends. Dr. Ho may receive compensation, product, or an affiliate commission on anything you see on this site. This is a personal Website solely reflecting Dr. Ho’s personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of any organization with which I may be affiliated.

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Caring for Older Parents: Skills to Be a Caregiver

 

You love your parents, but you know they can’t live on earth forever. You’ve been thinking about how to care for them. You think that it would be a good idea to take over the responsibility of caring for them.

However, before taking this step, there are some things you need to consider.

This blog post will discuss what skills you’ll need to become an effective caregiver. We will also touch upon how to prepare yourself physically and mentally for the task at hand.

 

Caring for Older Parents

Communication

 

Listening to your parents is the simplest way you can show them that they’re important. It’s easier said than done, but everyone knows how valuable it is to have someone listen to them. Oftentimes, older people can feel as if they are being treated like babies or as if they are not intelligent. We must be careful to show our elders the respect that they deserve. This is of special importance when caring for older parents. 

Even if they are telling the same stories over and over again, be a good listener. Acknowledge their thoughts as valid even if there isn’t anything new in them for you. They need this from you now more than ever before. 

Do not be too bossy, ask their opinion. Most importantly, ask them to share how they feel you can best help them.

Communication is an essential skill for a caregiver.

Talk with your parents about their health and any concerns that you, or your siblings, might have. Discuss medical decisions with your parents. Be sure to do what they want. This is not about you and what you want.

When caring for older parents there may come a time at which they can no longer communicate verbally. In this case, caregivers must learn how to read the emotions in people’s faces and body language so as not to misinterpret them. 

It would help if you were an observer. 

Observation

 

When caring for older parents you may notice them doing something that they should not. First, ask yourself if that is your opinion or fact. If it is your opinion, evaluate if it is correct.

If so then it is up to you as the caregiver to gently point these out without being judgmental or accusatory. This is a delicate process that takes great skill and empathy for both parties involved. 

Besides observing your elderly parents for any warning signs regarding health issues, it would be best to invest in first aid skills. For instance, if your parent faints and needs urgent CPR, you should perform it effortlessly. All you need is CPR & first aid certifications to know what to do and when. 

Interpersonal Skills

 

Interpersonal skills are essential in caregiver jobs. You have to be able to understand and relate to your relatives and take care of other family members who are not related but still need help with their needs.

This is a tricky skill that takes a lot of time and patience when developing. It will also be hard for you because you’ve never done this before, so they might give feedback on things that you don’t know about or the best way to do them at first glance. 

However, if you can work through these struggles, they’ll eventually start trusting you more in your skills which should make everything easier from there! You’ll need to be able to talk with someone without feeling frustrated or angry. If you’re not used to dealing with difficult people, this may take some practice and time. 

 

Time Management

 

Time management is a skill that can be cultivated over time. However, the best way to manage your time is to respond to the needs of others as you are able. Of course, keep your own self-care in mind. There is such a thing as provider burnout.

It’s easy for those providing caregiving services to neglect themselves and their own needs when faced with constant demands from loved ones. 

If you’re caring for older parents outside of your home then self-care may feel more difficult. However, it is essential to get fresh air, sleep, read books, exercise, or do another relaxing practice. Lean on the people around you.

You may be the health care proxy but that does not mean that you need to do everything.

 

Avoid martyr syndrome. It is not in anyone's best interest. Click To Tweet

 

Organization

 

When trying to keep your home and family organized you must be focused. This includes organizing schedules, cleaning up after them, and keeping them clean.  As well, meal planning, cooking, and medicine compliance.  There are also other tasks such as sorting out the person’s belongings, completing paperwork, transport to appointments, and possible pet care if they have any.

Of course, keeping all this in order can be very difficult. Still, by setting goals, you’ll have a much easier time achieving what needs to be done daily. Proper planning and goal setting will help you to avoid leaving things unfinished or unattended. 

If you know how long it will take to do something, plan accordingly between household tasks and personal responsibilities like work or school. 

There is no way to tell what the future holds for you as a caretaker. However, following these guidelines will help you to take on this role with ease and confidence.

For more on Elder Care:

 

elderly people holding hands
Tips For Taking Care Of An Elderly Relative
elderly people with an exercise ball
Preparing Your Home For An Elderly Parent

Please use the comment section below to share your tips, questions, and/or thoughts about this post.

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Naturally Yours,
Elise Ho
Ph.D., D.N. Psych.
Behavioral & Mental Health Specialist

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36 thoughts on “Caring for Older Parents: Skills to Be a Caregiver”

  1. It is such a privilege to be able to care for our elder parents. I took care of my mom, and my mom took care of her mom. It’s a tradition worth passing down. So many good things come from it (it’s not easy, but it’s very rewarding).

  2. Wow….did you have a chat with my Mum right before writing this blog, Dr. Elise? You’ve spoken my mind and her’s in one piece of writing. I concur and agree with every word you’ve shared here. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Listening to our parents and letting them feel that they are not alone is indeed one of the important things and the rest will follow. It is not easy especially dealing with their emotional behaviors but totally worth it.

  4. In the Philippines, we take care of our parents when they get older. Homes for old age are not common and time management and organization are really important when taking care of them

  5. Time management is what concerns me the most… we are trying to figure out how to balance everything to be there for my dad, but between work, kids, traffic, and other responsibilities, it’s very difficult.

  6. Taking care of our parents takes a lot of patience. More than the financial support, you also need to provide the time to show them how you love and appreciate what they have done to make your life better.

  7. I love my parents and i promised to take care of my mom as she grows older. I also grew up taking care of my late grandma and yes i agree that as they grew up, they tend to forget a lot and their mood changes rapidly. Patience is always the key and let them know and feel your presence all the time.

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About The Author

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho is a Holistic Health & Life Coach with a special interest in emotional health, life alignment, and energy flow.

Elise will partner with you to align your mindset, your energy, your home and your career so that you can live your life's desire with freedom and love.

Elise offers 30 years of experience and multiple certifications and degrees including a Ph.D. in Natural Health and a doctoral degree in Naturopathic Psychology.