When someone you love starts manifesting symptoms of aging, you begin to worry about their welfare. You know they are not going to be able to fend for themselves forever. What can you do? Will you measure up? Will you be any help at all? You could swear the composer of the song “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” knew a thing or two about senior care.
They were once on top of their game. For decades, they were competent, accomplished, active, influential. People depended on them at some point or most of their life. But now they notice a substantial decline in the things they are able to do. That can feel like a dagger to the heart. It can leave them angry, insecure or depressed. They need to be surrounded by people who are emotionally grounded and able to bear with them. They need your strength because they don’t have enough of their own.
Your loved one can get bored too. They are already susceptible to thinking they are useless. Protect them from self-defeating thoughts by keeping them busy with worthwhile activities. Anything simple from creative work or stimulating conversations about things they know a lot about, can give them a sense of accomplishment. A chance at achieving something may be all they need to find within themselves the strength to live.
Daily living activities including grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, home upkeep, socializing and refilling prescriptions may be hampered due to difficulty moving about. Be wary of any sign or mention of frequent falling. Another potential threat to watch out for is a tendency to wander. Certain modifications to their surroundings and security may eventually be necessary to suit their needs.
As one’s agility dwindles, so do their mental aptitude. This may result in a neglect of personal responsibilities like their hygiene, bills payment, driving, doing taxes and other activities requiring sound judgment. You can protect them from undesirable consequences, isolation and stress when these are taken care of on their behalf.
Their overall well-being is not just subject to their health. It also directly impacts their health. Neglect in crucial areas of their day-to-day living activities like failure to take medications or make doctor’s appointments, as well as the emotional consequences of it all, may cause, worsen or slower recovery of any medical illness. Providing appropriate care requires keen attention to red flags and potential harm to an elderly’s health. Be ready for any emergency. Stash a lot of first-aid know-how as well as a list of contacts and health professionals to approach for any need that may arise.
The most neglected factor involving the aging of a loved one is the welfare of the caregiver. Senior care, especially of one suffering dementia or serious illness, entails that the caregiver be of solid physical, mental and emotional state. They too are prone to disabling anxiety, resentment, guilt, sleep deprivation and poor health conditions due to the demands of caring for a debilitated elderly. Counting the cost of senior care includes preparing yourself for its effects on your personal welfare, daily routines, responsibilities, goals and other relationships.
You need to understand that this is nearly impossible to manage alone. You gotta have a life too, or you will suck the life out of everybody. You cannot afford to be depleted if you must always have something to give. Even the best senior care professionals [backlink to characteristics of a suitable caregiver] take shifts at caring for the elderly. If there is someone you know who is much better equipped in providing quality care, and they are willing to help, seize it. You need to keep your sanity, and your loved one needs excellent care. It would be the most caring thing you could ever do.
Their sense of worth
Finally, whatever you do, the key is to make your loved one feel loved. It raises their spirits to be constantly reminded that they matter. Whatever plans or decisions you need to make concerning them, reassure them that you have fought for and earnestly sought the best care available. And be true to your word.
It does take a whole lot of grit and smarts to take care of an aging loved one, that maybe love ain’t enough after all. But this one thing is true: love exceeds them all.