As you become a caregiver for an elderly family member, it can become easy to start to take over the care for everything they do. If you do some things, sometimes it seems easier to just do others as well. However, it is important to remember that your family member has lost the ability to care for themselves in the way they have been doing for years and years. To keep them from feeling like they have lost all of their independence all at once, it is important to be aware of what you do for them and what they can do on their own.
Pay careful attention to the tasks they are able to do. There will be certain things that your loved one will absolutely not be able to do anymore. These are the tasks you should take over completely. However, if your elderly family member is capable of doing some things, like cooking, folding laundry, or keeping track of when they need to take their medication, be sure to let them do that if they are willing to. Even feeling like they are somewhat self-sufficient can make a huge difference in how they adjust to their new lifestyle. As a caregiver, this can also take some of the stress off of you.
Make adjustments so that they can still do things they love. If you need to assist a little with a task or hobby that they enjoy doing, do what you can. If your loved one loves baking but can no longer stand in the kitchen to do it, prepare the ingredients for them and have them mix everything in a bowl at a table. Make sure that they give you the instructions on how to do the rest of the preparation so that it is made the way they would make it. If they enjoy puzzles but cannot stand up and reach across the table to put some in place, sit with them and help where you can. Talk with them and find ways that they can still do what they used to enjoy doing.
Do things the way they are used to them being done. It can be easy to come in and clean, cook, and do everything else the way you do it in your own home. However, this can make an already difficult adjustment even harder for them. Try letting your loved one tell you how they like things done, and make an effort to do that. This can make them feel as if they have not completely lost all control over their lives. If they are especially particular, there may need to be some compromises made, but for the most part, this can be a vital step in keeping them feeling somewhat independent.
Make adjustments to their home to make life easier for them. Make their own home as accessible to them as possible. Get a caddy so that things they might need throughout the day are within their reach. Install bars in the bathroom so that they need less help going there. Watch them throughout the day, and find out what can be moved or changed so that they do not have to ask for help constantly.
Find new ways they can do things on their own. Technology can be a huge help in this department. Someone who is homebound will almost definitely not be able to go to the grocery store and pick out their own items, but they can shop online and get exactly what they want and either have it delivered or have someone else pick it up. Installing lights around the house that can be controlled remotely through a tablet or phone could also be handy so that they can function easier at night. Be creative, and find some new ways of doing things that might help your loved one feel more independent.
Being conscious of how your loved one feels and the changes that they are going through is an important step in making sure that they still have a sense of independence. There is not a single way of doing things that works for all homebound people, but you know your loved one and what their needs might be, so implementing what might work for them could really help them feel as if they still have some control over their own lives.
Posted on 10/16/2017 at 10:00 AM
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