A sense of love and duty are often intertwined when caring for loved ones.
Whether it is a positive relationship often depends on the emotional and mental state of the person for whom the care is given. This is especially true when caring for loved ones suffering with alzheimer’s disease. The disease itself is debilitating in its later stages, and trying to cope with caregiver duties can be draining.
In this article, we will go over the ways a caregiver can better care for controlling loved ones.
Ask For Help
Be aware of when you have reached the “help needed” phase, and be ready to relinquish control when the time comes. Sometimes the “help needed” look is pasted on your face.
Caring for a controlling loved one, especially if it is a parent, changes the family dynamics. Some feelings of the residual child in you may cause concern about usurping authority. Relationship counselling can be very enlightening and may make the difference between having a total meltdown and being able to function through the issues.
Fortunately, many resources are available to support your emotional health well being. Google “help needed with a patient’s care” to find qualified personnel. Either professional helpers or volunteer senior helpers can take some of the load off.
Companies that offer caregiver jobs for qualified people are on the rise because there are vast numbers of seniors turning 65 every day, and they will, at some point, need some assistance with routine care. Caregiver duties vary depending on the condition of the patient. Some will only require routine daily assistance with basic things, like cooking, bathing or shopping. Others will require considerably more help.
An elderly caregiver may be more empathetic with the patient because he or she may be experiencing some of the same concerns, or may recognize that he or she may require that same kind of care someday. The patient may have some feelings of distress, but that is perfectly natural. It may even boost the morale of the caregiver by providing an opportunity to re-evaluate his or her own life and put in place resources for such a time as this.
Set Boundaries as a Caregiver
A patient’s care is uppermost in the minds of the caregiver. Service is another word for help, and that is exactly what the caregiver is providing – a service. Caring for loved ones takes more than mild courage; it takes fortitude. If the patient has been controlling and aggressive all of his or her life, dementia will only serve to exacerbate the behavior. On the other hand, if the person has always been relatively mild mannered, that also will be at the core. Think of it as the natural self being magnified.
Encourage patient relationships so that each person will know the boundaries. Set parameters for what you will and will not tolerate, and remind the patient often and verbally what they are.
You may have to care for someone who has no rational understanding of what is expected of him or her. In a situation like this, frequent respites are in order to care for your own mental and emotional health. Make no mistake, caregiving can be grueling, but the rewards are often satisfying.
Loss of Independence
Just knowing that you did not neglect a loved one and that you did everything you could possibly do is the deepest, most sustaining and nourishing feeling you could have. Having nothing about which to be sorry, nothing for which to be judged by others, and nothing for which to feel guilty should make you feel very honored.
Loss of independence is frightening. Generally, when an aging parent feels this loss, it is not uncommon for them to lash out at the nearest person, which unfortunately happens to be you. This is their way of coping with the inability to carry on customary, everyday matters. If you can recognize the reason that is happening, you can formulate ways to compensate by reassuring them and allowing them to feel powerful when it is appropriate.
As primary caregiver, you are taking on a massive task. No matter how ready you are to take care of an aging parent, it will soon become apparent that you know less than you thought and that you are going to need help. When a parent is belligerent or demanding, it makes the job a lot more difficult. Seek support early so that when the time comes, you already have aid in place.
Knowledge is Power
- Learn as much as you can about the problems affecting your loved one.
- Determine, as best you can, the reason for the behavior. Perhaps it is because of frustration, medication or pain.
- If you suspect that medication is the culprit, discuss it with the doctor and be open to supervising adjustments of medicine.
- Try relationship counseling from the beginning. It may make a difference.
- Realize that the roles have reversed and that you are now the parent. Try to take on this role in a loving, kind manner.
- Empower your parent in small ways so that he or she will feel useful.
- Work out strategies to bring about a peaceful co-existence.
- Do not neglect your own needs.
- Be on the lookout for your breaking point.
- Do not allow yourself to become so exhausted that you abuse your parent in any way.
- If you reach the point where you feel that you want to abuse him or her, that is the time to step aside and allow some other type of caregiving to take place.
- Learn to delegate tasks to others.
Interact with Your Parent / Senior Client
- Do not allow the television to be the companion.
- Positively reinforce expected behavior by offering rewards.
- Set boundaries and exercise your dominance in a loving way.
- Take only the amount of control that is absolutely necessary.
Eventually, other options may be the best for both of you. Caregiver jobs are available through many sources. Maybe you can afford to have a professional caregiver come into the home full time or on a partial basis. Adult day care centers keep your parent engaged and help stem the feeling of isolation. Another guest can act as an elderly caregiver.
Senior living facilities are open in every city for a more permanent living situation. Patient relationships often blossom in this environment because senior helpers may have some of the same ailments in common with your loved one. If that is the choice you have to make, do not despair. Just be sure to visit daily or as often as possible. The last thing you want your loved one to feel is that he or she has been thrown away. This type of guilt and anxiety may create more of a situation than being the permanent caregiver.
If your loved one is struggling with alzheimer’s disease, the progression of the illness may preclude any type of interaction. If that is the case, just be as gentle and loving as you possibly can. Your emotional health well being will be pacified, and all the compassion you can muster should be poured onto them. When the time comes, optimal hospice care is offered by many different facilities.
A cry for relief does not have to be another word for help. It may simply be that you have done everything humanly possible; now you can calmly and sincerely accept the optimal hospice care and quietly let them go.