With the advances in health care, the life expectancy in America continues to increase with women living longer than men. The result of longevity is an increase in complex medical issues being cared for at home by a spouse or another family member. Caring for an older adult at home does help him or her to have a full life, but it is not without its unique challenges. A personal nurse can help!
- COMPLEX MEDICAL CARE: Aging is nearly always accompanied by multiple complex illnesses like diabetes, heart failure, or dementia. At times people have all of these illnesses!
- LOSS OF INDEPENDENCE AND DIGNITY: Needing assistance with activities of daily living like toileting, dressing, walking, or eating independently is a drastic life change that is difficult to adjust to.
- DECREASED MUSCLE STRENGTH: Loss of muscle mass which results in decreased strength increases the risk for injuries caused by falls.
- CAREGIVER BURNOUT: 24/7 care can cause caregivers to burnout in a very short amount of time.
- CARE RESISTANCE: It is not uncommon for people to refuse care when they feel like they should be able to do it themselves.
- Focus on the Person
Despite the fact that the person you care for may require your help in nearly all aspects of their life; they continue to be an important individual with personal preferences and the right to have these preferences honored. Do not let the long list of tasks make you lose sight of the unique care that each person needs and deserves.
- Maintain Dignity
Our loss of ability to carry out basic activities of daily living, that commonly occur as we age, is the first-place dignity is lost. While abilities decrease, it is important protect each individual’s dignity. One way you can promote dignity is by having enough patience to allow the person you care for to complete tasks for themselves. Patience helps to promote independence and keeps them from feeling embarrassed.
- Connect and Understand
Every older adult has years of experience and wisdom to share. Take the time to ask them about their life, learn from them. Their experiences and knowledge can change your life. When you fully understand the person you care for you are able to genuinely appreciate and celebrate them as a whole person.
- Ask a Personal Nurse for Help
Caring for another person who requires around the clock care is physically and mentally demanding. It is natural for caregivers to become exhausted. Exhaustion can harm the person you care for. Reach out for help! A personal nurse can give caregivers a break and help prevent caregiver burnout. Personal nurses are experts when it comes to caring for complex medical issues and navigating our healthcare system. They are knowledgeable about issues that promote healing and delay disease progression.
Aging puts all of us in a position where we lose a certain amount of independence which ultimately threatens our dignity. Caring for an older adult in their own home helps to preserve some of their independence because of familiarity and focused care. The home environment promotes healing. Despite the challenges of in-home care, it is important to remember that each person is an individual who has lived a full life. Don’t let yourself from get lost in the day-to-day tasks of caregiving. Focus on the person you care for as the individual that they are. If you find yourself getting tired, impatient, or feeling burned out reach out to a personal nurse who can help relieve some of the care responsibility from you.
AgingInPlace. (2021, October). Home Care For The Elderly In Their Own Homes: Important Things To Remember. Caregiving. https://aginginplace.org/home-care-for-the-elderly-in-their-own-homes-important-things-to-remember/
Cleveland Clinic. (2016, November 11). Aging Challenges and Choices. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/4013-aging-challenges-and-choices
Mayo Clinic. (2020, February 21). Caring for the elderly: Dealing with resistance. Healthy Lifestyle-Caregivers. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/caring-for-the-elderly/art-20048403