Do you know that many young men and women rush into taking care of their elderly loved ones without first understanding the challenges that face caring for an elderly parent?
This post will detail the challenges, explain why the need for due diligence in trying to understand them and explain how to face the difficulties.
Of course, knowledge is power and will be observable in the way the caregivers go about taking care of the parents, improved quality of life of the elderly, reduced stress on the part of the caregiver, and how proficient and easy the work of the caregivers will be.
The part thebabyboomerhub.com can play In all these will also be mentioned.
An Elderly Person
An elderly, generally speaking, and as explained elsewhere on this site, is any person at or above the retirement age. At this age, different changes have begun to take place in his or her life – lifestyle, body metabolism, mind and body strengths, etc.
These changes are not in the positive direction but negative. This negative trajectory is irreversible. It is the natural order.
This stage of life is supposed to be enjoyable when one was expected to have almost completed his assignments here on earth. In some cases, there may be grand and great-grandchildren to gladden the heart. The children are grown and on their own.
Why do Many Young Adults care For Their Elderly Parents?
According to AgingCare.com, 96% of the elderly want to live out their lives in their own homes.
Some of the reasons proferred why they prefer to stay in their homes are: a home is a familiar place, where their freedom remains intact, their worldly possessions reside and their loved ones live.
Also, in their own homes, the elderly will not be living among ‘strangers’. To make sure they are cared for in their own homes, some parents will secure promises from their children never to send them to care facilities.
In some situations, an affordable care facility may not be available and if there is no other relative willing to shoulder the burden, one may have to become the caretaker.
Even some children are unwilling to trust the care of their father or mother (the person that brought them to this world and took care of them), to another human being.
So, caring for a loved one is not necessarily a choice but an obligation in spite of the challenges that face caring for an elderly parent.
The Disabilities Older Adults Face
As stated earlier on this site, many elderly persons age gracefully – healthy and requiring little or no care.
But the previous lifestyle and normal functions have begone to change or are rather in a decline. These parents can no more take care of themselves.
These changes are understood and accepted as a normal process of aging. But in many cases, the aging process is not as rosy as described above.
There may be different levels of sicknesses or disabilities caused by different types of diseases like chronic arthritis, diabetes, incontinence, etc., or caused by accidents like falling, which may lead to different levels of disabilities.
Children and family members can’t just watch their loved ones go through these painful experiences alone. In many Western societies and affluent families, different methods are employed to deal with these aging problems. The initial treatment is in the hospital where experts will start the treatment and care.
The elderly person is eventually returned home or sent to any of the many elderly care facilities where the care and treatment will continue. No matter where the sick or disabled elder is staying, care supplies must be readily available to avoid the unexpected like an unplanned and costly trip to the emergency room.
These care supplies may range from a simple bandage to custom-designed beds, chairs, standing aids, and even cars. Note here that these supplies are not for elderly care only. They are also for any sick person or anybody requiring them.
In my opinion, the constraints of Time is the foremost challenge that faces caring for an elderly parent. Even with a live-in arrangement, the caretaker, son, or daughter must be involved in all aspects of the care which require time.
If the son or daughter is married and or has a family or gainfully employed, the ability to make money to take care of the family and self or save for the future or the time to socialize with friends and family will be impacted by time.
So, if there was no full due diligence on all aspects of elderly care-taking before taking up this responsibility, particularly the impact of time, there will be a lot of conflicts – conflicts with meeting doctor’s appointment, going to the store, dealing with children’s school engagements, adequate time for spouse and time to take care of self.
This chaotic state will result in emotional and physical stress, sleep deprivation, depression, and isolation on the caretaker. You will observe the effects of reduced enthusiasm in the caretaker to do a good job and the elderly suffering.
Aware and allowing autonomy and independence to the elderly are two other areas in caregiving that must be understood and allowed particularly to healthy parents who must do it their own way. After all, “I have been doing it that way all my life”.
These include understanding the role reversal – the child is now the adult taking care of the parent. Please see this post on how to pick your battle and be tactful when dealing with such parents. After all, you are there to take care of your loving father or mother.
Another potential area that can cause challenges to care for an elderly parent is the effects of drugs and the sickness itself. All drugs have side effects and depending on the elder’s tolerance level, can cause some unacceptable behaviors in the parent like verbal abuse to caregivers and children. The caregiver must be aware of this.
Sometimes the health conditions can worsen suddenly without notice leading to unplanned midnight trips to the emergency room which can disrupt sleep, particularly to children.
Unwillingness to seek help can make potential helpers withhold their help or aid. Remember, aid could be in different forms like raw cash, taking turns to watch the elder, allowing the caregiver some space to attend to other personal matters.
The caregiver should not give the impression that all areas of the care are covered and suffer silently under the heavy burden of caregiving.
Another area of concern, depending on the economic levels of the elderly or the caregiver is the renovation of the house to accommodate care supplies and equipment, provide more space if the caregiver and parent agreed to house the parent in his own house.
Of course, this will cause some disruptions and incur financial burdens on the family. The caregiver must consider what the effects of housing his parent in his own house will have on the life he and his family were accustomed to before taking up this project.
The challenges facing caring for an elderly parent is huge and should not be taken lightly. This is why due diligence on all aspects of caring for an elderly mother or father is a must.
Among the critical challenges to be considered are time and its allocations to avoid conflicts, confusion, and the caregiver going over her head; financial pressure; availability of care supplies; etc.
I have been a witness to the disaster an elderly person can be thrown into simply because care supplies were unavailable or procurement very slow or difficult to come by. This will cause some stress on the caretaker who must run round to procure them in times of emergency.
Side effects of drugs and the behaviors of some healthy parents can pose problems if the caretaker was unaware of their existence and therefore unprepared to deal with them.
Problems may occur with role reversal if the caretaker was unprepared for it. Finally, caring for an elderly relative, father or mother is enormous. Therefore the unwillingness to ask for or accept help will certainly pose challenges.
I hope you enjoyed and got some valuable information from reading this post. It will be good to remember that thebabyboomershub.com will be invaluable when searching for information about the procurement of the elderly care supplies.
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