Seeing your loved one in a vulnerable position can be difficult, particularly if they’re in need of a level of care that you’re not able to provide on your own. Whether or not to employ the help of an extra pair of hands can be a sensitive subject, particularly as we strive to give our friend or family member the dignity and quality of life that they deserve.
Part of being there to support your loved one is deciding when it’s time to reach out to a care service for assistance. It’s a tough call to make, so to help, we’ve put together three signs to look out for as you navigate this part of your caring journey.
Receiving a diagnosis can cause lots of different feelings to surface, from anxiety or even fear, to relief that the search for answers is over. One of the more positive parts of receiving a firm diagnosis is that both you and your loved one are likely to gain a better understanding of their care needs, both presently and further down the line.
For example, upon researching your loved one’s condition or following the advice of a medical professional, you may discover that your friend or family member will need a walking aid or home modifications in the future to cope with changes in mobility. Or, perhaps you’ll need to look into residential or nursing home options if you’re expecting that your loved one will have trouble remembering things or communicating their needs as their condition progresses.
It’s common for elderly people to seek some level of support in later life, whether they’re struggling with their health, or simply finding it harder as they get older to do some of the day-to-day tasks that they used to be able to do.
Having additional needs may look like needing somebody to help with housework, or with tasks such as handling bills and keeping on top of communications. It could also mean that they need help preparing meals and medicine, or keeping themselves clean.
It’s important to remember that such difficulties don’t always happen as a result of a medical condition, and often occur simply as a consequence of getting older – no matter the cause, they qualify as additional needs, and may ultimately mean that your loved one is in need of extra assistance.
In truth, it doesn’t matter how much or how little care your loved one needs – if you’re struggling to cope, it’s worth taking a look at your options. Most care providers understand that friends and family members who have taken on this commendable – but tough – responsibility also have their own lives outside of caring, and may not always be able to meet the extensive needs of the person they care about.
As you begin to think about the road ahead, there are some practical aspects to seeking additional care that you’ll want to consider, such as the financial and legal implications of putting your loved one’s wellbeing in the hands of another carer or care institution.
Above all else, it’s important to remember that seeking outside care can be an incredible kindness when it’s in the best interests of you and the person you’re caring for. Often, friends and family members feel that they need to honour their commitment to caring no matter what – either because they can afford to, or because they think it’s their responsibility to do so. In fact, it’s hard to provide the proper standard of care that your friend or relative deserves if you’re not able to entirely devote yourself to it, or feel that it’s taking a toll on your own wellbeing or commitment to self-care. By looking at your options for additional care, both you and your loved one can live the quality of life that you deserve.
Thank you Alastair White for contributing this article.