For so many of us, life is all about trying to control as much of the unknown as we can. Of course, so much of the unknown is out of our control, so the concept itself seems futile, but there is a sense of calm and ease when there is a routine in place; when things are done properly, it can leave less room for error. But that only goes so far.
For example, the routine that we think is best for ourselves may not actually be best for our children or our spouses. And the conflicts that can arise from the battle to control the things around us can be stressful and detrimental to relationships. This is also true for those caring for the elderly at home.
It’s easy to want to take charge of aspects of your aging loved one’s life when you are their primary caregiver, but ultimately, giving them the freedom to feel autonomous will have a greater impact on their overall health and well-being, and on your relationship with them. Healthy aging can be just as much mental as it is physical, so here are a few tips for caregivers for how to take charge without completely taking over for your aging parent:
Don’t Make Assumptions
Before deciding what you will or will not be responsible for when it comes to caring for the elderly at home, sit down and have a conversation with your parent. An honest and open discussion will allow you both to feel comfortable with the role you are taking on as a caregiver and will still allow your loved one to feel as though they are in control of what is happening to them.
Be Respectful of Their Boundaries
Perhaps they want you to take over their finances, but aren’t yet ready for you to accompany them to doctor’s appointments. Or, maybe they need you to help them clean the house, but still want to make their own meals. Whatever the case may be, try to be respectful of the boundaries that your parent is comfortable with, unless there is some risk or harm associated with what they are asking of you.
Make A Schedule
Don’t feel the need to be with your aging loved one round the clock to care for them. Not only is that not a realistic expectation for your own life, but it is also isn’t always ideal for your parent. If you’re worried about promoting healthy aging for a parent who lives alone, consider purchasing a medical alert device for them. While Medical Guardian provides a wide range of product options at different price points, all of them come with the guarantee that your parent will be connected to help in case of an emergency, day or night.
While a certain amount of space and freedom is a normal part of healthy aging, when you are caring for the elderly at home, safety has to be considered first. If you start to notice behavior at home that is troublesome, then you have a responsibility to take control of the situation.
While it’s important to try and walk a fine line between giving your parent the ability to remain independent and taking your role as a caregiver seriously, the main goal should always be improving your loved one’s quality of life and encouraging healthy aging.