As the numbers of older persons keep soaring, living alone is downright impossible. However, most families cannot cater to nursing homes' costs, and many have resorted to caregiving services. As a new caregiver, the task of caring for a senior person can be challenging if you lack the right expertise and tools. Things like an activity calendar, medication log, and a documentation spreadsheet are all useful. They will help you stay organized, keep the older person's data securely, and prevent life-threatening emergencies.
Here are tips to better care for the elderly as a new caregiver:
1. Know you limits
If you don't set boundaries and do everything that the older person asks, you'll suffer burnout sooner than expected. Although it's hard to say to no, it's helpful to set healthy emotional boundaries. This way, it will be easier to distinguish your needs and those of the older person you're caring for. Such limits will also make your relationship more successful.
2. Stay organized
As an elderly caregiver, you'll be tasked with various responsibilities. It's easy to neglect some of the tasks if you don't organize your schedule. Keep a list of doctors, past treatments, health conditions, and current medications in case health complications arise.
Keep a special calendar and use it to track the senior person's doctor's appointments, refills, and other useful activities. Remember to file and update official insurance documents, social security benefits, and legal documents.
3. Make adjustments for safety.
Older people have slower reaction times, and clutter in the pathway can easily cause accidents and injuries. Things like rugs can enhance the likelihood of slipping and should be removed or secured. Wet surfaces are also dangerous.
Upgrading the bathroom and toilet can significantly prevent dangerous accidents and enhance the comfort of the older person. Consider the installation of shower benches, elevated toilet seats, and grab bars. A ramp outside the house will also come in handy for seniors who have difficulties moving around.
4. Maintain constant communication
Pay attention to all health complaints and stay connected with relatives and siblings of the senior person. Discuss any changes in the older persons' health or behavior, which helps develop the right care measures. Moreover, communicate often with the health provider, making it easy to recognize drastic changes that necessitate prompt medical attention.
5. Seek help when necessary
Taking care of an older person can be exhausting. Ask for help from other family members, which will relieve you of some of the caregiver duties. Seek help from healthcare firms that offer respite care for families that require temporary assistance with their seniors.
Other avenues to try out are;
Search for senior volunteer programs in your locality
Enroll for meal delivery services
Involve family members in house chores such as cooking, cleaning, and meal preparation
Hire an in-home caregiver from a caregiving agency
Enroll the senior person in an adult day program
6. Be realistic about what you can offer.
Do a self- evaluation and think of how much care you can provide without harming your health. If you try to handle so much, you'll eventually suffer burnout or develop serious health issues. If you can't manage everything yourself, think of other ways to get help with the task. Your health comes first, and you need it to care for the senior person.
The bottom line
Offering caregiving services to the elderly isn't an easy task. Most senior persons can resent care, especially if you aren't good at your job. Try to bond with the senior person and always seek their opinion on the best way to improve care. By so doing, the older person will likely enjoy your services, and this makes the task a lot easier.