New Year, New Routine
It’s lovely to linger just a bit longer in the memory of the holiday season before you tackle the New Year. The holiday traditions you have cultivated and relied on are important, and it’s difficult to imagine them ending or changing in any way. Yet these very traditions sometimes bring to the forefront changes to or a decline in a loved one’s physical or mental health. As 2020 begins, you may face new realities and roles within your family or the life of someone you love whose aging has caused a decline in their health. The idea of providing more time and resources caring for a parent or loved one may seem overwhelming or even daunting, but there is hope. Whether you are a caregiver or a friend to someone who is, knowing and understanding avenues to assistance is key, and CareAparent has some suggestions for healthily navigating this terrain. Below are some easy ways to reach out to give and receive help when a loved one’s health is declining and the need of assistance is growing:
As a primary caregiver:
- Discuss the level of care needed with siblings, medical providers and sometimes even a close friend. As things change, everyone will already be familiar with the situation and conversations about responsibilities and changes will be much easier.
- Explore options for hiring an agency to supplement the care you provide. CareAparent, for example, aids with personal care, transportation, meal preparation and a variety of other services that take the full burden off your shoulders.
- Put together a list of contacts your loved one would see regularly. It will be helpful to understand status changes and needs, and the support from friends and family members is invaluable. Sending a periodic card, letter with photos and status updates can help bridge the gap in our parent or loved one’s understanding.
As a friend:
- Be flexible with plans and communication to allow your friend to focus on their responsibilities within their family. Understand that they are probably tied to a parent or loved one’s schedule.
- Lend an ear. There is something supremely generous about giving your time to simply allow someone to vent, share frustrations and fears, and talk through concerns. You don’t have to fix problems, but you can provide critical support by being a good listener.
- Check in with your friend periodically to simply say hello is a way to remind them they are not alone.
- Sending a card or bringing a cup of coffee provides support and encouragement even in a little way. It will likely bring a smile to their face.
- If you grew-up with your friend and their family, you may even have a relationship with their parents. You may recall stories from your childhood or recent years that bring a laugh or smile. Share that memory with your friend and their family.
Whether you are a primary caregiver or friend to someone who is, these steps will allow you to provide support and care to one another. Change can be difficult, but you can’t stop the clock, and being proactive and supportive can be good for everyone. Contact CareAparent today to help fill the gap in your loved one’s needs at 651.702. HOME (4663).
Resources for family caregivers, including ideas for long-distance support from other family members: Family Caregiver
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