3. Be Aware
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God wants us to be aware of needs and ask Him for wisdom (James 1:5). In order to be aware of a loved one’s caregiving requirements, ask clarifying questions about the extent and kind of care needed. To determine the extent, ask questions like: Is there a risk of falls? Is incontinence a problem? Are there behavioral changes or changes in cognitive abilities? Does the loved one get confused, with lapses in memory?
To determine the kind of care necessary, consider different options, including assisted living, independent living communities, nursing homes, aging in the caregiver’s own home, or living with family. Assisted living care is for the relatively independent, while active seniors are usually in independent living communities with some medical support.
Nursing homes offer the fullest care—a 24-hour staff and medical surveillance. Aging at home offers the highest opportunity for independence, but usually with assistance and family adjustments. Living with family members can be comforting, but everyone must be prepared for new choices and changes.
4. Be United
When an elderly parent needs care, sibling relationships may be challenged. Old feelings and roles from childhood, including areas of competition, may arise. In trying to determine who should or shouldn’t do the caregiving and who is in charge of caregiving responsibilities, siblings may have differing ideas about what their parent needs. To complicate matters, the parent may tell the siblings different things!
This is not a time for siblings to make assumptions, get resentful, or fall back into childhood roles that might not work anymore. Remember: people normally change over the years. See siblings as they are now, not decades ago. Set aside past contention to create the best possible decisions today. Caregiving requires a united front for the parent’s sake.
Share information; get on the same page. Spell out what the caregiver will do and what siblings might contribute to the care. Caregiver.org offers additional helpful suggestions for caregiving with siblings.
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