While some adults find themselves gradually moving into a caregiver role for their aging parents, for others, the shift to caregiver comes on much more suddenly. It can be difficult to know where to turn for answers when this happens.
At Brickmont Assisted Living, we understand the stress and anxiety that can come with being a sudden caregiver. Whether you are caring for a parent or close relative, transforming your role from family member to caregiver can be full of challenges and setbacks.
Fortunately, you do not have to do it alone. Below, we examine some of the best steps you can take if you find yourself suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver. By following these strategies, you can reduce your stress, provide a greater standard of care for your parent or family member, and ultimately create a positive new dynamic within your family.
Assemble the Brain Trust
One of the most sigificant hurdles to overcome for a sudden caregiver is the feeling that you must do everything on your own. Becoming a sudden caregiver presents new and unexpected challenges, and unfortunately, many caregivers internalize these challenges, believing that they need to have the answers to every problem.
It is important to remember that you are not expected to know everything about caring for seniors simply because your family member’s care needs unexpectedly changed. Likewise, although you may find yourself suddenly in a new role, that does not mean that you are expected to be an expert in the field overnight.
Instead of trying to do everything on your own, AARP suggests making a list of the tasks you will need to take on in this new dynamic. Once you have a list prepared, look through it to see if there are items that you either a) do not want to do or b) do not feel qualified to complete.
Once you have identified the items you should not be doing, it’s time to lean on some of your family members and friends for assistance. In situations like these, it’s common for family members, friends, and neighbors to offer their help but they don’t know how.
By giving them clear instructions, you can ensure that each person contributes according to their strengths – and that you are not left to handle everything on your own. For example, they could help pack boxes for your parent’s upcoming move to an assisted living community or oversee finances if that is something that excel at.
Not only can this strategy free you from some of the burdens of sole responsibility, but delegating tasks to other people can have the additional benefit of forging stronger bonds among the family.
While there may be challenges concerning medical assistance, another significant challenge that a sudden caregiver may encounter is a change in the relationship. When you are called upon to provide care for an aging parent, your relationship will change – and this can be difficult to navigate, especially at first.
However, it does not have to become a negative change. When caring for seniors, many caregivers find that their relationship with their parent deepens because of their new role. It is important to remember during this time that if you can remain patient and flexible, you can experience a new dynamic with your parent or family member that goes beyond anything you have experienced before.
In addition to embracing the larger changes in your relationship, it is important to remain adaptable to the day-to-day challenges you may encounter. For example, your parent may need help with mobility, personal hygiene, or running errands and going to doctor visits. Each day could bring a new challenge. But with the right mindset, you can see these challenges as opportunities for you and your parent to grow together as you provide them with the necessary help that they need.
Put Your Faith in Others
As a caregiver, you may discover that the best way to care for your parent is to identify professionals who can give them the support that they need most. By finding an assisted living community, you can provide your parent with access to experienced professionals who deliver around-the-clock, compassionate care.
This can take a significant amount of faith, but at Brickmont Assisted Living, we work closely with families to ensure they are comfortable and ready for the next step in their family’s care journey. We deliver personalized care for each of our residents, ensuring that they are well-supported while remaining independent.
Becoming a sudden caregiver can seem like a whirlwind, and finding good information is an important first step. At Brickmont Assisted Living, we take pride in being an important resource and partner for families who want to learn more about caring for seniors. If you would like to learn more about our assisted living services, we invite you to contact us today.