Tips and Tools for Family Caregivers

Caring for aging parents can be very rewarding. It can also be hard work!

From helping with errands, to cooking, to eventually even bathing or helping your loved one eat, elder care will call on your time and tug on your heartstrings. Even if all you do is phone your parent more often than before, it is one more thing added to your already busy life.

You are a family caregiver.

The average family caregiver will spend 4.3 years actively assisting an ailing relative. With that in mind, you need to pace yourself. And you need to get help.

Many adult children fall into the understandable trap of believing they have to do it all themselves.The more constructive approach, however, is to think in terms of working as part of a team. As the saying goes, “A joy shared is twice the gladness; a grief shared is half the sorrow.” Working with others requires coordinating. But you will not be so exhausted trying to shoulder it all yourself.

To begin with, you and your family member are a team. Even if he or she needs lots of your help, when all is said and done, it is your older relative’s life. Negotiating the dance of when to lead and when to follow is part of the elder care journey. Good communication with your family member, and knowing how to set limits will be important skills to develop.

If you have brothers and sisters, it is optimal if all of you can collaborate to share in the care of your parents. Easy to say, not necessarily easy to do!

You can also team up with professionals in the field of aging. Often with professional expertise they can quickly and easily accomplish something that could take you many frustrating days. Plus, because they know the local service providers, they can save you time in matching your needs and resources with the providers best suited to your situation.

Below are tips and tools that can help you in your elder care journey: