When we grow older, we can easily become sick and need the help of loved ones. However, growing older doesn’t have to be a scary situation to be in if you are prepared for the coming years. Instead of worrying about the future, this is the ideal time to speak to loved ones about what they want to happen if they ever need help. Although this is a touchy topic and one that most everyone would like to avoid, it is inevitable which is why we have created a guide to help anyone through this difficult time.
No matter what happens in life, practicing good communication skills will always be beneficial for us, especially when it comes to communicating a plan for caregiving. This is one of the most crucial steps we will have to take when we feel it is the right time to discuss what our loved one’s preferences are when it comes to their well-being, wishes, values, finances and health. We are not getting any younger and knowing what our loved one’s want for themselves if they were to ever become too sick to care for themselves.
How to Get Started
- Communicating to our loved ones about their future health and needs can be uncomfortable, but it is better to be prepared rather than must scramble and pick up the pieces along the way when it does happen. Instead of blurting out how we are worried about their well-being, we can first bring up something we read or heard about a related health condition and ask how they have been feeling and if anything is bothering them.
- Some people may be hesitant or resistant when it comes to these kinds of talks and that is totally understandable, but that does mean that we should stop trying to talk to our loved ones about this topic. This topic is uncomfortable, emotional and tough to speak about because it is a conversation that no one expects to talk about which is why some people will become upset. Instead of giving up on having this conversation, we can ask another family member, close friend or a doctor to help get this conversation started so everyone’s concerns will be communicated in a civil and timely manner.
- Talking about money can also be very off-putting for everyone involved in the conversation. However, finding out what can be covered by discussing their bank account and health insurance can be extremely beneficial, especially in the long run.
Working as a caregiver is a difficult job because the caregiver focuses all their attention on the person they are caring for. Although some plan about caregiving, sometimes we just don’t have that convenience and must step up to care for a loved one in their time of need. Although caregiving is a noble job, it is a job that can leave anyone drained emotionally and physically and it can lead to burnout and other health issues. To prevent feeling this way, we can choose to speak to family, friends and find resources in the community to help us during this time. It is ok to need help and that is why communicating with our team about determining roles like who oversees certain aspects and setting a schedule to know when one person will be taking over things while the other one rests is important.
It is always recommended to keep important information in a written contract to ensure nothing goes wrong and there are no misunderstandings. This is the time to care for our loved ones and not worry about anything else which is why it is crucial to be on the same page with each other. Although the contract will change over time as the condition of our loved one changes, it is important to have everyone understand what they are agreeing to and have it signed.
Caring for Your Loved One
Caring for our loved one may seem like it might not be difficult, but once we begin caring for them full-time everything changes. This is the time where we need to be focused on our loved ones and their needs which means that we need to speak to their doctors to let them know that we are their primary caregiver and we will need to be stay up-to-date with their treatments and conditions. We can also ask for training on whatever procedures that need to be done such as injecting medicine or changing bandages.
Care for Yourself
Caring for ourselves is also crucial when it comes to caregiving. If we stop caring for ourselves then we will not be working at our best for our loved ones which can result in terrible consequences. Although we might believe that taking some time off for ourselves seems selfish to do, it is not selfish at all and is highly recommended to do. Giving ourselves a break can make us feel guilty, but when we forget about our needs and desires, we are reducing our energy, health and making ourselves become easily angered because we do not allow ourselves to have an outlet. Taking some days off and focusing on our health is important when it comes to caregiving because it keeps us relaxed, energized and happy.
Becoming a caregiver to a loved one can be intimidating which is why we have created a guide to get you through this. Check out our website for more info.