Added on March 2, 2018 by June_Duncan
One of the hardest parts of having an aging loved one is ensuring she has enough help. While she may say she is handling daily tasks well, you may have your doubts. Hiring a caregiver or becoming a caregiver for your senior loved one is one way to make sure she has the assistance she needs to take care of herself. We offer other suggestions for making sure your aging loved one has enough help here, to put your mind at ease.
If your senior loved one does not have a caregiver, but you are concerned that she needs more help, consider becoming a family caregiver. You will need to determine how much time you can spend with your loved one and which of her needs you can meet and which you will need support in providing.
Sometimes, adult children share caregiving responsibilities; other times, they hire a caregiver to ensure loved ones have as much help as needed. For tips on hiring a caregiver, check out this guide from AARP.
Beyond helping your loved one with activities of daily living, caregivers provide her with companionship and help stave off depression. Seniors who age in place alone can become very lonely, and the risk of developing depression increases as people age due to health problems, a weakened sense of purpose, loneliness, fear of dying, and loss of loved ones, among other causes. Overall, caregivers provide seniors with much-needed companionship.
Whether you are providing care for your loved one or have hired someone else to do it, you need to monitor her well-being carefully to make sure she has enough help. For example, your loved one may eat well when the caregiver is present, but she may skip meals when she is lonely. Or, she may not be able to get dressed or complete other activities of daily living without assistance.
To assess her needs, begin by having an honest conversation with her about your concerns. Keep in mind that while she may not be willing to admit that she needs more help, you likely will have enough information from the discussion to determine whether she is struggling. Be observant when you are in her home and look for signs that she needs additional help. A Place for Mom recommends looking for piles of mail, spoiled food, or other things that are out of the ordinary in your loved one's home. Also, talk to other people who are involved in her care, such as medical providers and other caregivers. You may determine that your loved one needs full-time, live-in help.
Another way to provide companionship and care for your senior loved one is to get her a service dog. Service dogs help people with a variety of needs, from those who have sight issues, to those who live with dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Therapy dogs also are available for people of any age with physical and mental disabilities.
If you think that your senior loved one needs more companionship, especially when a caregiver is not present, talk to her doctor about getting a service or therapy dog. He will help you find local agencies and services to connect you with a service dog. He also will review the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of having a service or therapy dog for your aging loved one, including getting more exercise by playing with the dog, lowering blood pressure and stress by petting the dog, gaining emotional stability during stressful situations and reducing anxiety and depression, and having a renewed sense of purpose to care for the dog.
It is difficult to know exactly how to provide help and care for a senior loved one who is aging in place. Begin by providing companionship and assistance through a caregiver. Then, assess her needs to determine whether she needs live-in help or a service or therapy dog.
via Pixabay by geralt