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Managing Change: How to Cope When Your Loved One's Health Declines

When a person receives a new health diagnosis or experiences a decline as a result of an existing condition, it can be incredibly difficult to deal with, not only for that individual, but also for his or her family members. For those tasked with caregiver responsibilities, life can be turned upside-down in the blink of an eye. Such abrupt and significant life changes can be challenging to adjust to. Creating a plan can help you to accept and respond to change with greater ease.


Determine the Care Needed


The level of care needed depends on the physical and mental status of your loved one. A senior experiencing a progressive disease, such as Alzheimer’s, will require more extensive care than someone who still retains much of their faculties. Here are three helpful questions to ask yourself when considering the most appropriate care for your loved one:


1. Is the support needed long-term or short-term?

2. Will my loved one need help round-the-clock or just at specific times of the day?

3. What am I equipped to handle when it comes to care, whether physical or mental assistance?


Acknowledge Your Feelings


As a caregiver, you may become overwhelmed by a host of complex emotions as you adjust to the demands of caregiving. Just like your loved one is experiencing grief and loss due to declining health, so are you. It is possible you are grieving your former lifestyle, a sense of freedom, and the relationship you previously enjoyed with your loved one. You may notice feelings of:


• Guilt

• Resentment

• Helplessness

• Anxiety

• Hopelessness


Naming your feelings can help you move past them and shift to a positive and productive mindset.


Practice Self-Care


It’s true that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Focusing on your emotional and physical well-being can help you to better cope with the stresses of being a senior caregiver. Here are a few tips for prioritizing your health when dealing with change:


1. Follow a routine.

Though many things in your life may be unpredictable, you can incorporate daily habits to help you maintain a sense of normalcy and control.


2. Stay connected.

A strong social network can help you navigate changes that occur from assuming a caregiver role. Friends, family and other social connections can lend a listening ear or a helping hand.


3. Show self-compassion.

It is impossible to always handle change with grace. Be kind to yourself and affirm that you are doing the best you can.


Seek Outside Help

If the needs of your loved one extend beyond what you can comfortably provide, Home Helpers of Drexel Hill is here for you. Contact us today and our dedicated team will guide you through creating the best care plan for your loved one.