6 Tips for Caring for Older Family Members

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6 Tips for Caring for Older Family Members

Caregivers have a lot on their plates. They have to tend to their professional and personal lives while looking after loved ones. 

As time goes by, you're probably climbing the career ladder and gaining more responsibilities at work. Depending on how that's going, you may be looking to move into a bigger apartment, or even purchase a new home. These are big decisions that require a lot of time and effort.

While you're progressing through your life, so are your family members, whose ability to carry out daily routines may be decreasing, underscoring the importance of your role as a caregiver.

Know the importance of caregiving
As your professional and personal responsibilities grow, it may become more difficult to tend to your caregiver duties. However, this doesn't make them any less important. In fact, your caregiver responsibilities grow even more important as time passes. 

Finding the time to care for your family members is a matter of proper planning and prioritizing. Doing so can be a daunting task, but here are six tips to get you started.

  1. Ask for help: If you haven't done so already, asking a fellow relative or family friend to share caregiving responsibilities with you will allow you more time to relax and tend to other tasks. If you've been the primary caregiver for many years, you may be hesitant to do this. In this case, start small. He or she can help research home health products, find out more information about health conditions and other such small duties. 
  2. Visit frequently: Living close to your older family members has its perks. Swinging by for a quick visit can give you insight into their daily routines and whether they need assistance around the home. Keep an eye out for signs that the house isn't as well tended to as it usually is. Things like a sink full of dishes or unusually cluttered surfaces can be indications that they're having trouble with daily tasks, which may prompt a discussion about hiring professional help.
  3. Speak to neighbors: Older loved ones who have lived in their current homes for years have most likely established a presence in the neighborhood. Friendly neighbors are some of the best resources for caregivers, especially if you don't live close enough to visit often. These individuals will likely be the first to notice any changes in your family members' daily routines. Let them know that they shouldn't hesitate to reach out to you if anything changes.
  4. Call often: If loved ones live alone or with a spouse, they can get lonely. Your presence in their lives is important, and calling often can lift their spirits, show that you're thinking of them and give them opportunities to voice any concerns that they may have regarding their health or activities around the house.
  5. Consider your personal situation: At some point, your caregiving duties may lead you to wonder about whether you should leave your current job to focus on looking after your family members. As selfless as this may be, you have to consider what it may mean for your future, U.S. News & World Report pointed out. 
  6. Spend time outside the home: Being a caregiver can overshadow other aspects of your relationship with your older family members. Find time to spend a day with them outside of their home or yours. Take a trip to the mall or just go out for a drive. This will ensure that you and your loved ones chat socially, rather than focus solely on their health conditions and care around the home, strengthening your bond.