While it is ideal to think that we can always provide the care our loved ones require in order to keep them out of a nursing home, we must also be realistic. Whether providing care for a few hours a day or for an entire day can be an extremely challenging task. However, there are a few simple steps you can follow to try and keep your promise for as long as possible.
- Make a list. Writing out your loved one’s daily needs can make it easier to plan how these needs will be met. For example, if you loved one needs help remembering to take their medications, you can set up a pill planner or remind yourself to call your loved one when it is time to take medications.
- Find middle ground. One of the biggest mistakes caregivers make is assuming that their loved one is totally dependent and cannot do anything on their own if they need help with a few tasks. While it may take a little patience, it is best to allow your loved ones to maintain as much of their independence as possible.
- Accept professional help. Use available services or resources in your community such as the Valley Agency on Aging.
- Accept help from family members. When family members or friends offer to help, be sure to take them up on it. Not only will you appreciate the much needed break but, your family will also be glad they can help out.
- Take a break. Schedule time for yourself weekly. Take an afternoon or even a week off. This will allow you to continue to provide good care and maintain your sanity. Some caregiving agencies provide short-term respite care.
- Enjoy time with your loved one. It can be emotionally draining and frustrating for your loved one who now has to rely on others to meet their own needs. It is important that during this difficult time you find things to do with your loved one that they enjoy.
- Meet with an elder law attorney. Navigating the system of available benefits can be very overwhelming and confusing. An experienced elder law attorney can assist you in developing a plan to meet your loved one’s specific needs.
- Finally, use an assisted living or nursing home when needed. If you can no longer continue to provide care to the extent that your loved one needs, it is important to consider other options. While it may not be easy, in some instances this is the best decision for your loved one.