Family Caregiving – A Rewarding Experience

When mom or dad start to need a little more help, the decision of how to care for an elderly loved one becomes a subject of family discussion. While there are many options for senior care, and many viable ones, one of the most rewarding is caring for your loved one as a family, keeping mom or dad comfortable in your home. Yet this particular choice can be riddled with drama and struggle. Here are some tips to help make it a rewarding experience instead of a struggle.

Figure Out the Strengths of Each Party

Caring for an elderly loved one should be a family job. Figure out where each sibling’s strength lies, and divvy out the responsibilities accordingly. You’ll probably find that one of your siblings is a more natural “caregiver,” providing a loving and supportive environment for the daily living needs, while another is better with numbers and accounting. That’s the sibling who should handle the insurance, bookkeeping and finances. One family member may have more time, making them the go-to choice for transportation to and from doctors visits and social events, while one may have more money to provide financial support, but less time to provide help with the day-to-day work. Figure out what role each individual will play, and the jump in with gusto. Remember, this is a team effort!

Plan for Breaks

No matter how you divvy out responsibilities, chances are one individual will take on the major aspects of day-to-day care. Make sure that you plan for occasional breaks for that individual. Any caregiver can burn out without an occasional day for themselves, so don’t let this happen. If there is not another adult family member who can provide care during these breaks, then make plans for a respite care facility to help.

Avoid Criticism

You love your parent or grandparent. So does your sibling. Yet you may show that love in different ways. It’s vital that you avoid criticism during this time. If you can avoid turning to criticism, even when you don’t agree with what the other person is doing, the entire process ahead will bring your family together, instead of pushing them apart. Try to appreciate the value of what your siblings are bringing to the process instead of finding areas to criticize.

Treasure the Moments

It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks of care giving, and forget about the little moments and memories you are making. Treasure this time with your loved one, because it may be fleeting. Take time to take pictures, write down funny or sentimental quotes and learn to enjoy the experience in spite of the responsibility your family is facing.

Embrace the Rewards of Family Care Giving

Finally, to make the family care giving experience rewarding, take time to reflect on those rewards. Some of these rewards include:

  • More time with someone you love.
  • Personal and spiritual growth as you put someone’s needs before your own.
  • Knowing that you are making a difference.
  • Increased connections with family.

Remember, while the days of care giving are along and filled with decisions that can be difficult, the time is actually quite short. If you choose to take on the role of caregiver as a family, you will find the road ahead is filled with warm, touching times.

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