It can be intimidating for just one person to take care of a senior suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes.
This responsibility needs to be shared among the family members for the primary caregiver’s physical and mental wellbeing.
While it’s true that not all members of the family can be physically present with the senior at all times, it’s still possible to shoulder the part of that responsibility.
Both long-distance caregivers and the local caregiver can coordinate with each other to offer support for the elderly.
Sharing caregiving responsibility with family is achievable by following these steps:
Plan a Discussion
Start by planning a discussion with volunteers from the family who are willing to help. Caring for a senior requires teamwork.
In that meeting, participants should offer their opinions and suggestions on how they can help.
However, this shouldn’t be done in case of an emergency. You should plan ahead and discuss the present as well as the future of caregiving responsibilities with your family.
Apart from that, the patient must be a part of this discussion.
The meeting will help you steer away from any sort of confusion while caregiving for a family member. Besides, it’s crucial to take the likes and dislikes of the patient into account.
Define Caregiving Responsibilities
There are numerous factors involved in chronic care management at home. Some of the examples include personal care, household chores, taking the elderly for hospital visits, sorting paperwork, and managing finances, among many.
The primary caregiver can be responsible for tasks that require physical presence, such as chores and personal care. On the other hand, managing finances and paperwork is something that the long-distance caregiver can handle.
Review Your Strengths and Weaknesses
How do you delegate tasks within the family?
For that, each person should analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Family caregiving for older adults and seniors requires an evaluation of the skills of the caregiving team.
Ask yourself these questions:
- technologically savvy and resourceful?
- good at numbers?
- good at leading and supervising?
- physically fit to travel frequently? Is it financially feasible?
- prepared for the emotional turmoil caregiving can cause?
- ready to handle the patient’s personal care needs?
A detailed review of your strengths and limitations is pivotal for sharing caregiving responsibility with family.
Consult the Primary Caregiver
Once everyone has their responsibilities defined, they should coordinate with the primary caregiver to determine how things will work.
It’s the primary caregiver that lives with the patient, and he/she needs assistance – financial or otherwise.
Spousal caregivers may consider getting help. There are plenty of face-to-face support groups, telephone support groups, and online forums available at your dispense.
Be Specific and Realistic
Being direct helps – especially when it comes to caregiving. Family caregiving for the elderly can take an emotional and physical toll.
Many caregivers share their experiences in newspaper articles and magazines about how they don’t get enough help.
However, there is another way. It’s being specific, direct, and realistic with your family members (for instance, your siblings) about your situation and intentions.
Sending mixed signals does not help. Apart from that, you should be appreciative of every little assistance that you can get. Guilt-tripping makes people defensive and uncomfortable.
Sort Your Differences
Differences are bound to arise within a family, and caregiving is no exception. Each member may want to take a unique approach.
However, sharing caregiving responsibility with family is about setting those differences aside and finding common ground for the greater good of the elderly.
In such a situation, you can also consult counselors, doctors, and professional healthcare providers to determine what’s best for the patient’s health and wellbeing.