Making decisions is an important part of independence. Through these decisions you are expressing yourself, evaluating your own wants and needs and honoring them, stimulating your mind, and ensuring that you are an active participant in your daily life. While this might not be something that you think about on a regular basis when you are making the basic decisions of daily life, as a family caregiver it is extremely important that you consider the weight of making important decisions for your elderly adult. Many seniors struggle with no longer feeling as though they are independent or in control of their own lives. This can be frustrating and upsetting, and even leading to mental and emotional health concerns and a loss of motivation. By encouraging your parent to make even simple decisions throughout their day, you stimulate their mind, acknowledge them as an individual, and support continued engagement in the world around them.
Some simple decisions that your parent can make each day include:
- What clothing to wear. Show your parent two or three complete outfits and let them choose the one that they want to wear that day. By limiting the options and putting together whole outfits first, you ensure that your parent does not get overwhelmed and that they do not choose pieces that do not work together, which might require you to discount their decision, which could be detrimental to them.
- What meal to eat. When it is time to eat, give your parent a few simple options and let them select what they would like. Avoid asking fully open-ended questions like "What do you want to eat?" or "What sounds good for breakfast?" as this can be overwhelming or lead your parent to suggest something that you do not have to give them. Instead, give suggestions in the form of options, such as "Would you like waffles or toast?" or "Are you in the mood for pasta or a casserole?"
- What to do. Activities keep your parent's mind and body stimulated and fill their day. Help them to show control and engagement in their day by selecting what they want to do. While routine and structure can be very important for an elderly adult who is dealing with cognitive functioning decline or memory loss, fitting in opportunities to make decisions when possible is valuable. For example, if you know that your parent eats lunch at noon and then has a nap at two, offer options for what to do in that time in between. Suggest playing a game, doing a craft, watching a movie together, taking a walk, or other appropriate activities and let them decide what sounds best.
Being a family caregiver for an elderly adult can be stressful, but fortunately home care can be there for you. A home care provider can be with your parent on a schedule that is right for them as well as for you to ensure that your senior gets everything that they need to maintain their health, safety, and quality of life both when you are with them and when you are not. This care can be a tremendous source of stress relief for you. Knowing that your parent is in good hands means that you can step back and focus your energy, attention, time, and resources in the most efficient and meaningful ways. This can be especially beneficial if you are in the sandwich generation caring for your parent and your children, or if you live at a distance from your parent and do not feel you are able to care for them in the way that they need and deserve.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Los Altos, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.