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Caring for Elderly Relatives: What to Do When You Can’t Cope

Posted May 9, 2019 by Sue Prichard

As you get older, you have to deal with your parents getting older and that can be so difficult. When they’re struggling to do things for themselves and they need more help from you, it puts you in a tough position. They cared for you while you were young and now it’s your turn to care for them. Ideally, you want to help them stay in their own home for as long as possible. There are certain things that you can do to help them maintain their independence and care for themselves, like decluttering the house, helping them with their finances, and maintaining a close relationship with their doctor.

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But there comes a time when they simply can’t live on their own anymore and that’s when you need to make some tough decisions. A lot of people decide that they’re going to move their parents in with them so they can care for them properly. It’s a good solution for a lot of people, especially if one of you is going to be at home with them during the day. It allows them to maintain some independence and, most importantly, you get to spend more time with them while they’re still with us.

But caring for somebody that is sick can be so demanding, especially if they have something like dementia and they can’t do much for themselves. It takes a huge emotional toll on you and in some cases, you simply aren’t equipped to give them the care that they need. It can also put a big financial strain on you if you are unable to work because you’re caring for a loved one and you have to cover the cost of having another person in the house. But you have to remember that their health and well being is your number one priority and if you’re not providing the level of care that they need, it’s time to make some changes.

If you’re caring for a loved one at home but it’s all too much for you, these are some of your best options.

Ask Family For Help

Sometimes, it falls to a certain family member to care for aging relatives and they feel as though they’re doing it all on their own without help from the rest of the family. If your situation feels like that, you need to ask the rest of the family to help out. That doesn’t mean you should ask somebody else to move your relative in with them necessarily, but ask if people can help out more often. It might be that they come round a few days a week and take over so you can get some rest and deal with any other errands that you have to do etc. Often, people feel as though they aren’t equipped to care for their relatives properly but that isn’t the case, it’s just that they need some more help because they can’t handle it all on their own.

While it’s important that you care for your relatives properly, it’s also important that you care for yourself. Having somebody else to help out a few times a week gives you the chance to rest and recharge your batteries so you don’t overwork yourself. If everybody in the family pitches in, it will be a lot easier for you.

Caregiver Support Groups

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The emotional toll is the hardest thing to deal with and it can sometimes feel very isolating. That’s why caregiver support groups are such a good idea. It gives you a space where you can share with other people that are in a similar situation and understand what you’re going through. It’s very therapeutic to talk through your struggle with people that have a shared experienced and it also gives you a network of people that you can call on for help and advice if you need it.

Residential Communities

Sometimes, it’s just not possible for you to care for relatives in your own home but they might not need round the clock care. If it’s simply a time or a financial issue and you need to go out to work so you can’t be at home with them, you should look into retirement villages that they could move into. These aren’t like a residential care home for people that are seriously ill and need round the clock care, they give people a chance to live independently but at the same time, all of the support that they need is there in case they are struggling. This is often a better option because people want to retain their independence for as long as possible.

In-Home Care

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If you would like to keep your relative in the home with you but you’re struggling to meet all of their care needs, you should consider in-care home. You can hire nurses and carers to come in and help you out when you need it. This may be necessary if there are certain medical needs that you aren’t qualified to deal with. It also means that you can go out to work if you need to without having to worry about your relative and whether they are safe at home.

Nursing Homes

If your relative is seriously ill and they have been diagnosed with something like dementia or alzheimer’s, they will need around the clock care. As these conditions develop, they will need help with the most basic of tasks like eating and drinking, so they will need around the clock care. If you aren’t able to offer that, it might be time to consider moving them out of the home. To start with, you can make do with in-home care but as their condition worsens, it won’t be viable to have somebody in the house with you at all times. It’s such a tough decision to make but it may be time to move them into a nursing home. They’ll have nurses and carers available 24/7 so you can rest easy knowing that they’re always being looked after properly.

It’s difficult to admit that you aren’t coping properly when you’re looking after an elderly relative but it’s important that you’re realistic and you remember that their well being should always be your priority.

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