Once your aging loved ones need caregiving assistance, it’s not uncommon for old familial rivalries to resurface as relationships get magnified. Your “know-it-all” sister might decide to chime in from a distance while your “deadbeat” uncle goes AWOL – again. Any way you slice it, caring for elderly relatives can create a messy family dynamic. If you’ve been shouldering most of the caregiving burden alone, here’s how to let family members know that you could use their help without damaging your relationships.
Family Members Serve Various Roles
Using siblings as an example, childhood roles often reemerge when faced with a difficult situation like caring for elderly parents. Here are some of the more common ones:
The Armchair Quarterback
This person always has it all figured out. If you don’t think so, just ask them. But for some others, they never seem to be around when you are bathing mom or taking dad to the doctor.
That financial tap that mom and dad turned on during childhood is still flowing years later. In the event their parents stop paying out, sponges seek other – and sometimes dishonest – ways to get what they want.
This loveable slacker shows up at the most opportune times – like Holiday gatherings – and watches TV while you prepare food and clean up. But when you try to call them to help install grab bars in your parents’ bathroom, it rolls over to voicemail.
Usually the eldest daughter, this special person is highly efficient, selfless, and someone who can be counted on to bring mom and dad a hot meal even during a blizzard.
If you fall into the latter category, it’s easy to get so caught up in juggling a household, job, and caregiving that you risk developing caregiver fatigue or even burnout. If that happens, your health and wellbeing – along with that of your care recipient – will be in jeopardy.
How to Involve Other Family Members
Don’t allow yourself to get run down. Instead, take these steps to involve fellow family members in your loved one’s care:
Hold a family meeting
Sometimes siblings and other relatives just assume that everything is OK, while other times they’re too busy with their own lives. Even if it’s done from a distance via video chat, hold a family meeting with everyone. During the conversation, update everybody about your loved one’s mental and physical health, including any limitations with activities of daily living (ADLs) they may have.
Honestly explain why you need help and try to recruit members for your “caregiving team” based on each one’s time and talents. Be sure to thank everyone for participating and don’t get discouraged if some refuse to say “yes.”
Create a caregiving calendar
Using each member’s availability and skills as a guide, create a digital caregiving calendar that you can then share with the group. As your aging relative’s condition declines you may find the need to add new responsibilities and recruit more care members.
Bring in a trusted outsider
If talking is getting you nowhere, it may be beneficial to bring in an outside professional like an elder care mediator to explain the importance of working as a team so your loved one can remain at home. It’s also a good idea to designate a trusted family member as a durable power of attorney (POA), so they can make financial or healthcare decisions on your senior’s behalf.
Have a backup plan
If no family members are available, another option is to hire a professional respite caregiver from a reputable home care agency. As a highly trained replacement, a respite caregiver can step in and provide your parents with the nurturing they need. This allows you to stay recharged and refreshed!
An Extended Family in Your Loved One’s Home
Serving as a family caregiver can be challenging even under the best of circumstances. When you need a hand, contact HomeChoice Home Care Solutions. We deliver peace of mind to clients and their families by providing compassionate and dependable in-home care. Our top-notch caregivers and office staff provide personal levels of care that will make you and your loved one feel like family – because you are.
At HomeChoice Home Care Solutions, our mission is to enrich the lives of those we serve by providing caring, compassionate, and wellness-focused in-home care. To schedule a FREE Care Consultation for a senior in Raleigh, Durham, or Cary, NC, today, please visit us at www.homechoicehomecare.com.