January 16, 2019

As a loving family member and a caregiver, you want your parents to thrive independently, and still feel comfortable and active in their home. But every once in a while, you’ll face the inevitable: They’re going to need a helping hand.

It’s only natural. Part of growing older means facing physical and mental changes that can affect our ability to take care of ourselves as we once did. For many older adults, this may mean requiring assistance with housekeeping, meal prep, and keeping up with routine activities of daily living (ADLs), such as sitting, standing, and grooming.

As a family member, it’s important to grant your aging loved ones the freedom to do what they can, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of remaining independent. But there are also going to be moments when you’ll have to step in and provide assistance. And often, lending a helping hand around the house is one of the best ways to show your loved ones how much you truly care.

At times when your loved one can feel especially more sluggish and confined, such as the gloomy winter months, helping out around the house may not only assist your senior in accomplishing their general needs, but also make them feel loved and inspired as well.

Is your aging loved one in need of some extra helping hands around the house? As you prepare to step up and assist with housekeeping, maintenance, and chores, here are a few important things to keep in mind:

Assessing Your Loved One’s Needs

First things first, you want to carefully and diligently assess your aging parent’s needs, and examine their living environment. In order to be as helpful as as possible, be sure to get the full scope of what they need before diving right in. This can help you plan and strategize when tackling tough chores, or designating problem areas of the house to be addressed.

Think about what your loved one’s most important tasks might be, and  be sure to sit down with them to determine where their specific needs lie. Ensuring appliances are ready-to-use and accessible? Getting those hard-to-reach places clean and organized? Keeping lights and alarms updated and working properly? Taking a full sweep of all areas could be key. You may be able to look at your aging relative’s home with fresh, objective eyes, spying potential problems that your loved one may not have considered.

Curious where to get started? Be sure to read our guide to assessing your elderly loved one’s home environment, available here. Curious if your loved one just needs a little bit of extra help, or if they’re in need of more serious attention? Please visit our guide to the potential “yellow flags” you may spot around around your parents’ home, here.

Talking With Your Senior Relative About Their Wants and Needs

When it comes to getting things done around their home, your loved one’s input is going to be absolutely vital. Sitting down and genuinely talking one-on-one is a great way to determine what they need, and where you, or a professional, can pitch in.

You’ll be able to get a better sense of what priorities matter most to them, while also determining where you should spend your time – and when it may be right to outsource for professional help, whether that’s a cleaning service for housekeeping, a contractor for home repairs, or an in-home companion to make sure your loved one’s social and emotional needs are met.

And the more your parent is involved in the upkeep and maintenance of their home, the more they’ll continue to feel confident and in control of their lives and their living environment. Hear their concerns and how they typically do things, and then lend your ideas and abilities in order to help fully meet their wants and needs.

Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself

At the same time that you are acting as a caregiver for your aging parent, you also need to consider your own needs. Do remember – you can’t fully help someone else in the best, most efficient way when you’re not also taking proper care of yourself!

Spending all of your time and attention on your love one may feel like it’s the right thing to do, and even necessary. But it’s important to remember that everyone has limits. Eventually, you may hit the threshold on how much time and attention you can realistically give on your own. Many family caregivers end up suffering from burnout, or negative health consequences, as a byproduct of always being a “helping hand” to others, and sacrificing their own needs.

As a caregiver, be sure to figure out your limits, and set realistic boundaries. It’s important to make time for your health, and to take breaks, allowing you to focus on your own wants and needs – whether that may mean completing work, spending time with your family, or exploring your passions. Focus on your personal wellbeing, make time for yourself, and be prepared to bring in assistance when you’re in need of rest or respite.

Need a Little Bit of Assistance?

As you figure out where, how, and when you can be the most useful to your aging loved one, you may find that there are areas where you can use extra input, guidance, or service. That’s where Companions for Seniors would be happy to step in and help!

Our caring, friendly, and helpful companions can assist your and your loved ones in navigating the challenges you may face. Our trained and bonded caregivers are available to perform a variety of duties, including assisting with ADLs, meal prep, and driving services – all to help ensure that your loved one is able to live safely, independently, and happily in the comfort of their own home, while also making sure you have the support and assistance you need to maximize your time as a family caregiver. Have any more questions? Ready to start empowering your loved one to live more independently, by making sure their most pressing needs are met? Don’t hesitate to give us a call or drop us a line today to keep the discussion going!