Caregivers of young children often get a lot of support from people who remember what it was like to be a new parent. However, family caregivers of seniors sometimes get overlooked by people who don’t understand how much work it takes to care for someone else’s needs every day. Friends of family caregivers should keep a few things in mind that can promote friendships and the wellbeing of those who dedicate their time to helping others.
1. Never Judge Your Friend’s Decisions
From a distance, caregiving can sometimes look far easier than it really is. Your friend may have to make difficult decisions such as whether to have someone else step in to manage his or her loved one’s personal hygiene. Alternatively, your friend may have tried everything to stop his or her loved one’s wandering, and hiring an extra caregiver is the only thing that works. Let your friend know you are there to support his or her decisions without judgment since only he or she can know what is best for his or her loved one.
Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Palm Desert home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
2. Accept Your Friend’s Emotional Expressions
Family caregivers experience many conflicting emotions. While they love their aging family members, they may also grieve the loss of the relationship they once had. Your friend may need to vent about the frustrating circumstances he or she experiences one minute and then express joy the next. Having a range of emotions is completely normal, and your friend will likely appreciate having someone who listens to what he or she wants to express.
3. Open Up Dialogue About Caregiving
People sometimes avoid broaching the topic of caregiving because they think it’s too difficult to talk about. However, you may find that asking your friend about his or her experiences leads to many shared moments where you both learn more about the caregiving role. In fact, opening up the dialogue about caregiving may help you later on if you find yourself in a similar role.
4. Be Understanding About Your Friend’s Lack of Free Time
Caregiver guilt extends beyond your friend’s role caring for his or her loved one. Your friend also likely feels guilty every time he or she turns down one of your invitations or has to hurry off the phone. Tell your friend you are never upset about the lack of available time so he or she knows you understand.
Consider suggesting professional elderly care agencies if your friend needs help caring for an aging adult. When searching for reliable Palm Desert home care agencies, families want to know their senior loved one will be well taken care of. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers are available around the clock to assist with tasks around the house, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, and much more.
5. Find Simple Ways to Maintain Your Connection
In addition to telling your friend that you understand the lack of availability, you can take simple steps to preserve your connection. For instance, you can send a funny email or drop off a hot lunch for him or her to enjoy on a stressful day. Small gestures mean a lot to those who constantly give of themselves.
6. Offer Specific Ways to Help
When asking caregivers if they need help, their most common answer is that they are fine. Your friend may be afraid of dragging you into a stressful situation or taking advantage of your kindness. Instead, ask if you can help by picking up your friend’s kids from school or grabbing some items from the grocery store.
7. Watch for Signs of Burnout
Friends play a valuable role in helping each other stay healthy and mentally well. Watch for signs that your friend is facing emotional difficulties, such as hearing that he or she always feels tired. Then, bring up your concerns gently and help your friend find ways to take a break.
Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you are caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Palm Desert families who want to avoid burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation. To create a customized in-home care plan for your senior loved one, call us at (760) 345-0001 today.