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.
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.
This is why caregiver services have that admirable balance in giving them the care they need, but without that “babying” that we can sometimes show when we’re caring for someone who is older than us. We can learn from people who have done this for so long and are doing everything like it’s the first time, especially when it comes to listening to them. This is something we can greatly benefit from.
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.
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 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 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
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.
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