Kimberly Roberts

Managing the Caregiving Journey: Essential Strategies for Supporting Aging Loved Ones

Overseeing the care of elderly loved ones is an important and often challenging task. Explore our expert tips to make the process smoother for all involved.

Care Coordination
Managing the Caregiving Journey: Essential Strategies for Supporting Aging Loved Ones

Each year, tens of millions of Americans serve as unpaid caregivers to adults over the age of 50. While caring for family and friends is often instinctual, doing so often comes with its own set of challenges.

As the problems begin to present themselves, many caregivers start to question how to best support aging loved ones, particularly as health issues become more prominent.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who falls into this category, keep reading for guidance, suggestions, and a selection of recommended resources designed to best support you and your loved ones.

1. Get Started Early

Initiate discussions with your loved ones about their future care preferences sooner rather than later. Engaging in these conversations makes it easier to plan for what’s to come and makes sure that you take their preferences into account. Discuss their health, financial situation, and senior care desires openly and honestly. It might even be worth leveraging a checklist of questions designed specifically for aging loved ones. This can guide the conversation and ensure that all major points are hit on.

2. Understand the Full Picture

As your loved ones age, and their health changes, it’s important for you to understand how much support they truly require. This will allow you to identify the proper type, and amount, of care needed, and help you understand how much support you can offer vs. how much might need to be outsourced. Doing so will minimize burnout and stress, which is all too common in the world of caregiving.

Craft a comprehensive care strategy by identifying the types of tasks that your loved ones need help with, and how frequently they need such help. Remember to incorporate considerations for future care needs, while assessing how your personal commitments may impact your ability to provide care over time.

3. Do Your Research

If you aren’t able to fully handle the care for your loved ones yourself, you should seek the help of others. You can rely on another family member, or look into agencies and qualified individuals.

When considering the right care for your aging loved ones, evaluate their needs across various aspects such as companionship, personal care, managing medications or finances, handling daily chores, specialized care for conditions like dementia, and the necessity for continuous, long-term support.

It's also crucial to assess financial implications, compare costs, seek financial aid, and look into government assistance to lessen the financial load. You might also benefit from tax deductions for medical expenses or by claiming your relative as a dependent. If your loved one is a veteran, VA benefits could be available.

4. Make a Plan

The plan should also include practical, day-to-day considerations such as potential home safety modifications, which are key if your loved ones want to keep at home. Some common home safety modifications that can make a big difference include:

  • Widening doors and hallways
  • Installing an emergency response system
  • Adding grab bars, handrails, heightened toilet seats, a shower chair, and non-slip floors in bathrooms
  • Enhancing lighting systems
  • Removing potential trip hazards
  • Lowering the height of countertops in the kitchen and installing easily accessible cabinets

5. Don’t Forget About Yourself

Taking care of aging loved ones is demanding and can lead to neglecting your own needs, risking burnout. When caregiving becomes overwhelming, it's vital to seek external support, whether through caregiver support groups like the Family Caregiver Alliance or by considering professional care options for your loved ones, such as home care or assisted living.

You should always remember to prioritize your happiness, career, hobbies, and own life to prevent burnout and continue to be an effective caregiver.

6. Stay Nimble

Flexibility is key in caring for loved ones due to the evolving nature of their needs and health. Adapting to changes, exploring new care solutions, and adjusting routines can ease stress for everyone involved. Openness to learning and adjusting, alongside a solid support network, aids in managing these shifts smoothly, ensuring both you and your loved one navigate transitions effectively.

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If you’re about to begin - or are in the middle of - your caregiver journey, we at Evergold are here to support you every step of the way. With our comprehensive home care solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of your loved ones, we help ensure that they can enjoy the comfort of their home safely and with dignity. Let us help you make caregiving a more manageable and positive experience.

Discover how Evergold can enhance your caregiving journey by filling out the form below.

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