When you’re on the outside looking in, it can be difficult to understand the role of a caregiver. If you have a friend who is caring for an elderly parent, you probably know why his or her parent needs assistance. However, you might not understand how hard your friend works or the emotional toll it takes to provide care for an aging loved one. Here are a few things you should do if your friend is a family caregiver.
Don’t Let Your Friend Become Isolated
At the end of a long day, caregivers may not have the energy to meet their friends for dinner. Many caregivers are always on the job, and they may not be able to catch a weekday movie or meet up for a midday yoga class. When caregivers want to spend time outside the house, they often have to schedule it in advance and find someone to watch over their loved one. The stress of the job can lead caregivers to pull away from friendships. If your caregiver friend starts to become isolated, make the effort to stay in touch. Your friend may not be able to meet up for an impromptu shopping trip, but you can visit at his or her house, send supportive texts, and check in via phone. Keep the lines of communication open so your friend has a shoulder to cry on when needed.
If your friend needs help caring for an elderly parent, suggest professional in-home care. Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated home care, Bethlehem, PA, families can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise.
Aim for Empathy, Not Judgment
If you’re not a caregiver, you may be unable to understand what it’s like to spend all day caring for a parent who may never get better. When your friend talks about his or her caregiving decisions, negative emotions, or fears, try not to judge. Listen with empathy, and try to provide the support your friend is looking for. Even if you think your friend is making a poor caregiving decision, avoid the impulse to criticize or question. If your friend needs to vent, don’t judge him or her for expressing negative emotions about caregiving. Some negativity is a natural consequence of caregiving, and talking about it may provide your friend with a healthy emotional release.
Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Bethlehem families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.
Not all family caregivers want to discuss caregiving with their friends. Some caregivers avoid the subject because they don’t want to be seen as a burden. If you suspect your friend needs someone to talk to, come prepared to talk about his or her specific situation. For instance, if your friend’s parent has Alzheimer’s, ask about the long-term care plan.
Give Your Friend a Self-Esteem Boost
Many caregivers are filled with guilt, and they may feel they’re not doing enough. For some caregivers, anything less than perfect is a failure. If your friend expresses feelings of guilt or shame, try to lift his or her self-esteem. Every time your friend feels overwhelmed, let him or her know you’re there.
Family caregivers who need help with their caregiving duties should consider professional in-home care. In Bethlehem, elderly care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. To learn about our premier in-home care plans, give us a call at 484-350-3874 today.