Caring for an aging loved one has likely felt more challenging than ever in recent years. The pandemic posed an increased risk to seniors, and with fewer opportunities to gain support from friends or family due to lockdowns and self-isolation, family caregivers have been forced to ‘make do’ and cope in the best way they can. Regardless of whether seniors reside in their own home or a residential assisted living facility in TN, the practical, social, and emotional challenges thrust upon family caregivers have been vast and varied.
Goal Setting for Family Caregivers
This year, prioritize taking a moment to reflect, considering how you can adapt your loved one’s care plan to better meet both their needs and your own. Goal setting is an excellent way to establish a clear plan of action while sparking motivation, so why not write down two to three clear, achievable goals for the rest of 2022? These goals might be focused on improving your loved one’s care, taking care of your mental and physical health or making life practically easier for you as a family caregiver. If you’re stuck for inspiration, here are 5 great goals that may be of benefit to you and your senior loved one!
- Make small changes to improve the safety of your relative’s home
As your loved one ages, their home environment may present an increasing number of barriers for them to overcome. Whether it’s a narrow, winding staircase, a low bathtub or uneven surfaces, it may be useful to think about how the home can be adapted to make it a little easier for your loved one to navigate. For example, installing grab bars and anti-slip mats in their bathroom could be a relatively simple way to reduce the risks posed by slippery surfaces. For tricky staircases, you may wish to look into stairlifts or fit a sturdy handrail. For more detailed advice on how your loved one’s home can be modified to best meet their individual needs, it might be worth seeking advice from an occupational therapist.
- Make plans for future care
Even with all the home adaptations in the world, there sometimes comes a point when it’s safer for an aging senior to move to a residential assisted living community with 24/7 professional care and support available. Residential assisted living facilities in Hendersonville feature expertly adapted, safe spaces designed with seniors in mind, alongside enhanced safety provisions like alarm buttons, secured entrances and around the clock on-site first aid trained staff. If you think your loved one could benefit from this type of care at some point in the future, it’s worth starting your research early. It can be difficult to bring up the subject of residential assisted living with a loved one but rest assured that the earlier you begin looking around, the higher your chances become of finding a community they will love.
- Practice self-love and kindness
Family caregivers are selfless and endlessly giving by nature. It’s important to recognize your own efforts and grant yourself the love and appreciation you truly deserve. Self-love is deeply personal and can be comprised of both physical and mental acts. Try setting a goal to do something just for you each day (or week – whatever feels achievable!) For example, you might wish to take 10 minutes each day to read a book for your own enjoyment, or carve out an hour or two in the week to take a long, luxurious soak in the bathtub. Mentally, pay attention to your internal monologue. Ensure you’re speaking kindly of yourself, acknowledging the sacrifices you make for your loved one out of the kindness of your heart. Remind yourself that being a family caregiver is not about perfection, and that doing the best you can is more than enough.
- Seek out social, emotional and/or practical support
Many family caregivers are hesitant to reach out for practical support with their loved one’s care, and feel they don’t want to burden others by sharing the emotional journey family caregiving can present. But seeking practical and emotional support as a family caregiver is absolutely vital and can help make the demands of caregiving feel much more manageable. Take some time to think about the type of support you would benefit most from. Perhaps you’d simply like to set aside more time to meet up with friends for a coffee, or maybe you need to enlist a family member or professional caregiver to help with your loved one’s care once or twice each week.
- Harness technology to help with your loved one’s care
Modern technology can be a true blessing when it comes to senior care. Something as simple as teaching your relative to use FaceTime or Zoom could allow you to check in on them when you’re unable to visit in person. Other useful technologies include alarm buttons your loved one can press to put out an alert in the case of emergency, or smart lighting and plugs to keep their home well-lit and heated at the correct times. If your loved one agrees, it could also be beneficial to fit security cameras in or outside the home, so you can check in on them from time to time and monitor who is coming and going from their property.
The Next Step
Though setting achievable goals can be a great tool for the family caregivers of aging seniors, sometimes it is no longer safe or possible to take care of your loved one in their own home. It’s important to understand that this is often a natural and inevitable aspect of aging, and not a failure on your part. If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of a move to residential assisted living like New Hope Senior Living for your aging loved one, get in touch today and arrange a visit to discover how we serve both seniors and family caregivers.