One of the few things that we just hate to think about is our parents or loved ones growing older. Although we know that it is a natural progression we tend to think of our parents as invincible and we reject the idea that at some point in our lives our parents and older loved ones may experience health challenges that can be a part of getting older.
As parents and loved ones get older our responsibilities as caretakers will increase. At some point there may be a time when caring for our older loved ones may become a challenge beyond our capabilities. This is something that we would like NOT to think about; however, it is something that we MUST think about.
Most are rarely prepared to care for a loved one beyond basic care but at some point our loved ones may need more care than we are physically able to handle. This is why we really NEED to think about and prepare for this just in case it is something that we have to deal with. Preparation before hand can be done with the least amount of stress, if we create a plan and implement it before it becomes critical. I recently read seven amazing steps that could be taken to make the process a lot easier for yourself and loved ones.
1. Don’t Wait Too Long to Take Action.
Everyone waits until a crisis hits. And more often than not, it was predictable. Talk as a family and plan ahead.
- James Ashley, owner of care home where Joan’s mother lives.
2. Get your Parents Involved in Eldercare and End of Life Planning.
Say, “We want you to be independent as long as you possibly can. And the key to that is to know exactly what you want done and what you don’t want done — what kind of hospital you’d like to go to, and who you want as your doctor.” Make it an active kind of discovery for how to get health caregiving plans in place and all your paperwork ready for when your loved one may need more help.
- Gail Sheehy, Bestselling author of 16 books, including Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos Into Confidence.
3. Get Professional Help.
Finding yourself a qualified senior advocate can help save time and stress, not to mention provide valuable resources you may not have known about otherwise. Contact a reputable senior referral service like A Place for Mom to help you determine the needs and desires of your loved one, and find the right living arrangement for them.
- James Ashley
4. Face the Facts.
No matter how much you want to help, sometimes your aging relative needs round-the-clock care and constant supervision that you can’t provide. When that happens, acknowledge that someone (or some place) may be better equipped to provide the majority of your parents care than you are.
- Dr. Alexis Abramson, renowned advocate for elders and author of The Caregivers Survival Handbook.
5. Keep the Love Connection Going.
Just tell them that you love them again and again. You will never say it too much.
- Joan Lunden
6. Don’t Abandon Them.
Everyone is busy, but visits are so important. If that means sacrificing some time to go see aging parents, just do it. It’s that love connection that allows the elderly to thrive. Hug them, kiss them and talk to them. Bring up their past. Show them pictures from their lives. These are important things that help elderly experience moments of happiness.
- James Ashley
7. Forgive and Seek Forgiveness.
If your parent was abusive or uncaring when you were a child, now is the time to forgive–even if you truly feel he or she doesn’t deserve it. Holding grudges will not only affect your ability to care for your parent, but it will also hurt you.
- Dr. Alexis Abramson
Taking these steps can be very challenging but if we plan ahead we can minimize some of the stress and heartache that can accompany making such tough choices. Read more about all of these tips and more in Joan Lundens Book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers.
If you have a loved one that is in need of just a little extra help and you are in the Cherry Hill, NJ area contact Companions For Care . Let us provide you with more information about how WE can help you and your loved ones.
In preparation for 2010 Hurricane season as well as any potential emergency event, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management has created New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters – a free, voluntary and confidential program designed to assist people with special needs who may find it difficult to get to safety in the event of an emergency.
“The time to get ready is now,” said Colonel Fuentes. “Make an evacuation plan for yourself, your family, and your pets. Prepare a readiness kit of things you’ll need to have with you if you must evacuate or shelter in place for an extended period of time. Talk now to friends and family who can help you get to safety when a crisis hits,” Colonel Fuentes added.
People with special needs (or caregivers on their behalf) are encouraged to register electronically, if possible, by accessing https://www13.state.nj.us/SpecialNeeds/. Alternatively, they can call New Jersey’s toll-free 2-1-1 telephone service. This service will register people, offer free translation, and provide TTY services for the hearing-impaired. Paper registration forms are also available at all 21 county offices of emergency management via: http://www.ready.nj.gov/about/association.html