When a loved one is struggling to complete a job, our typical instinct, with the very best of intentions, is usually to step in and do it ourselves. But is this truly supporting a senior loved one – or can it be hindering?

Truth be told, there is a fine line between independence and guaranteeing an older adult’s safety.

Dr. Barry J. Jacobs, clinical psychologist, family therapist, and healthcare consultant who co-authored the book AARP Meditations for Caregivers, shares from his own experience with taking care of his mother: “With all my best intentions and concerted energies, I mostly succeeded in curbing her independence and squelching her spirit. She didn’t see me as her caring son so much as the overbearing usurper of roles she cherished.”

The following suggestions can help family caregivers more fully recognize the best time to intervene – and when to step back:

  • Employ patience. Plan your day in order to permit sufficient time for the older adult to work through activities at a pace that is most comfortable. When we are rushed and harried, we’re prone to jump in and take control. A small amount of additional time makes a significant difference in boosting the person’s self-esteem.
  • Highlight the positives. Although it’s true that particular tasks have grown to be too hard to manage independently, locate work-around methods that make certain the senior can stay involved in the activity according to his or her specific abilities. For instance, if loading clothes into and out of the washer and dryer is difficult, the senior may instead be able to sort and fold clothing.
  • Encourage input. Have a genuine, open, heart-to-heart discussion with the senior loved one to express his / her expectations about your part in providing care support. Is the older adult troubled with giving up specific aspects of daily life? What are the most pressing needs? Companionship and other emotional care? Physical assistance with ambulation, bathing, and getting dressed? Maintaining the house and yard? Work together to design a strategy to satisfy these needs in a way that is agreeable to yourself and also the senior.

It is also smart to explore the idea of enlisting the assistance of a skilled in-home senior care provider, such as Morning Glory Home Care. Quite often, family caregivers become overwhelmed with taking care of housework, meal preparation, running errands, transportation, and personal care needs, leaving insufficient time to just enjoy quality time with the senior they love.

Morning Glory Home Care, the dementia care Edwardsville, IL experts, offers a complete range of personalized services to address all of these needs and so much more, making sure aging parents in Edwardsville and the surround areas are safe and secure, while empowering them to stay as independent as possible. Contact us at 618-667-8400 to request a free in-home consultation, and strike a healthy life balance – both for the senior you love, and yourself.

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