If just thinking about the word “elder care” has you turning gray, take a deep breath.
Since 2008, I have met with hundreds of adult children, grandchildren, spouses, friends, nieces, nephews and siblings of someone in need of elder care. Every one of them was stressed.
Many were stressed to the point of tears because their best efforts were not working. But guilt and frustration became comical when I asked them to step back and look at the big picture of what they are asking of themselves.
One person trying to provide 24-hour care for another person is impossible. It isn’t a “one-person” job.
Think of all the offers of help that come in when a new mom has a baby. We worry that she’s not getting enough rest with the frequent feedings and diaper changes. We bring food and babysitting offers to help her through the rough months.
Take that new mom (or dad) and age her by 30 years, so she may be dealing with her own health problems. Then make that new baby a fully grown adult with “new baby” needs. Add a second baby (another parent) and add the ability to argue with, throw guilt at, and walk (or drive!) away from you. Do you seriously think you should be able to handle elder care alone?
The word itself can mean so much. A search of elder care on the web can send you into more confusion. Decide what it is that you need.
Before you search, ask yourself a few questions:
What is the primary need? Think of the toughest part of the day. Do you lie awake, worrying about falls on the way to the bathroom, or, with dementia, wandering? Maybe it’s the morning hours. It’s hard enough to get yourself up, bathed, dressed, and fed, let alone another person or two.
When do you most need a break? The day might be more manageable if you can sleep at night. Or the night might be more tolerable if you know help is coming in the morning.