Senior Care Blog Wayland and Weston

Are You Physically Prepared for a Caregiver Role for Your Senior?

By Denise Roskamp

Being a family caregiver for your elderly loved one can be a wonderful opportunity for you. This role is a chance for you to spend more quality time with your senior, show them that you love them and want them to have the highest quality life possible as they age in place, and ensure that they get all of the care, assistance, and support that they need throughout their later years. When you are faced with the potential need to become a family caregiver, however, it is critical that you think the decision through carefully and ensure that you are fully ready for these responsibilities. This can help to ensure that you not only give your parent the quality of care that they deserve, but also that both of you remain safe and healthy throughout the experience.

Some things to keep in mind when considering whether you are physically prepared for a caregiver role for your elderly loved one include:

• Physical strength. Depending on your senior’s needs, you may need to provide physical assistance such as helping them with standing, transferring, walking around, getting in and out of the shower, and even bathing and toileting. This can require a tremendous amount of physical strength to handle safely.

• Flexibility. Flexibility is an important element of body control and mobility. When you are helping your parent move around it is vital that you are flexible enough to move confidently and easily, and to correct yourself if you start to fall.

• Resistant health. Elderly adults tend to have immune systems that are not as strong as those of younger people. This means that they are more likely to contract illnesses and infections, and have a more difficult time recovering from them when they do develop. It is important if you are a family caregiver to have resistant health so that you do not inadvertently spread germs to your senior. Even if an illness or infection seems minor to you, it can become serious for your senior.

If your parent’s needs, limitations, and challenges have become more than you feel that you can handle effectively and efficiently, your schedule has changed and you are no longer able to be with them as often as you would like to, or you simply feel that they would benefit from diversified attention during their later years, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home care for them. A care provider can be in the home with your elderly loved one on a schedule that is right not just for their individual needs and limitations, but also the care that you are able to give to them. This means that they are able to help your senior remain safe, happy, healthy, and comfortable while also pursuing a lifestyle that is as active, engaged, independent, and fulfilling as possible as they age in place. This can give your parent reassurance while giving you tremendous peace of mind knowing that even when you are not able to be with them, they are getting everything that they need, easing your caregiver stress and improving quality of life for both you and your senior.