If your elderly parent is dealing with some significant life transitions, you can be there to support them and help them navigate the path toward health and happiness. With old age, many things begin changing and a lot of these life transitions can cause plenty of stress. Sometimes elderly adults are not prepared or able to develop strategies to manage the stress they face. That’s where family caregivers can help.
There are many wonderful things about an elderly person’s golden years, such as retirement, reduced responsibilities and lots of free time for family and hobbies. However, there are many life transitions that can be expected. Among the most common life transitions for seniors are living with a chronic illness, losing a spouse, financial difficulties, less mobility, requiring home care services, increased isolation and loneliness. Family caregivers can really help their aging relative in dealing with these life transitions by understanding them and then actively assisting them with their needs.
Family caregivers need to make sure their loved ones are adequately dealing with the stresses that accompany aging and the life transitions that happen. Of course, there is no way to predict exactly how someone will respond to a significant life transition. In many cases, an elderly person might try to hide exactly how they feel. Some seniors may be too embarrassed or proud to admit they need help or they aren’t doing well. Still other elderly adults may not want to say anything is wrong because they fear losing their independence or that family members will try to control their decisions.
Once family caregivers understand what their elderly relatives might be feeling, they are in a better position to communicate with them and help them resolve any issues. Family caregivers can incorporate several strategies that are effective in helping seniors face significant and often tragic life transitions.
Here are a few guidelines that family caregivers can follow to make life transitions better for their loved ones:
- Understand that it takes time and patience for many elderly people to adapt to changes.
- Use comforting words and phrases to express that you understand.
- Demonstrate trustworthy and stable behavior.
- Don’t wait to be asked to do something, just take action.
- Make sure they are eating properly and practicing good hygiene.
- Expect mood swings, from irritable and angry to sad and depressed.
- Prepare for them to refuse help.
- Empower them as much as possible.
- Preserve their independence and autonomy.
- Keep them engaged and active in social situations.
- Focus on solutions to any problems they bring up.
- Give them some alone time if they request it.
- Arrange for professional counseling if they are not progressing.
- Be patient with them as they adjust.
Above all, family caregivers should pay extra attention to their elderly relative when they are going through changes. Some seniors eventually manage to cope, while others struggle for a long time. Knowing they have someone’s care and support can make all the difference.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Naples FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.