Elder Care 101: Five Common Problems People Encounter When Caring For A Loved One (And Their Solutions)

When you start to care for your elderly parent or loved one, your life isn’t going to be the only one that will be changing.  Your entire family is going to be going through a lot of changes, and it’s rare for these things to occur smoothly.  Family conflicts can flare up when care taking comes into the picture, and dealing with them can be stressful.  Every family is unique, but there are some common problems that tend to occur when family members become caregivers:

Now that you’re caring for your family member, old rivalries are resurfacing

You and your siblings are sharing care taking duties for your elderly parent, and now it seems like all you can think about is how much you resented growing up in their shadow.  It may seem strange, but it is not uncommon for mature adults to revert back to some childhood behaviors when they’re back at home or caring for an elderly family member.  Old habits can die hard, and it’s difficult to not think about certain childhood memories when you’re around your family again.  The best you can do is to keep in mind that you’re all not only adults, but that you’re here to care for your loved one and not air out a decade of old dirty laundry.

You feel like you’re constantly arguing with your family over the best way to care for your loved one

Your aunt wants you to switch the brand of your adult incontinence products and your sibling thinks that your loved one needs new medication.  You’re bound to bump a few heads when you’re figuring out how to care for your parent, but if you feel like you’re constantly arguing over the best way to care for your loved one it’s time to get their doctors involved.  If you want to end the fights over care, talk to their doctor about the best way to handle their care.  Your family members mean well, but they aren’t doctors.  If they start to complain about certain things again, gently remind them that you’re doing what the doctor recommends and that you aren’t going to go against the advice of a medical professional.

Your family seems more concerned about their inheritance than the well-being of their loved one

This is one of the most common and heart breaking problems families face when they start to care for an elderly loved one, but the easiest way to settle the drama is to ensure that your loved one has a will that clearly states who will be getting what in the event of their passing.  If your loved one doesn’t have a will and is still coherent, your first duty is start working on their will.  If they don’t have a will and are unable to write one, contact an elder law attorney for help.

You feel like you’re doing all of the care giving duties despite the fact that other family members agreed to help out.

Sometimes conflicts of interest happen, but it isn’t fair to you or your loved one that people who promised to help out aren’t pulling their weight.  If this happens, you need to remind them of the promise they made to your family and that their loved one needs them.  If they insist that they can’t help out physically, ask them if they can contribute money to hiring a home care aid.  If they refuse to help out with taking on care taking duties or giving money, let them know that you won’t depend on them anymore and they no longer have a say in any care taking matters.

After trying home care, you realize that it isn’t working out

You and your family have been trying to care for your loved one for months, but everyone now seems stressed and miserable, and that includes the person that you’re caring for.  Your pride may be a little hurt, but there’s no shame in admitting that you can’t properly care for your loved the way that you had hoped.  When this occurs, you need to look into other care taking options ASAP.  You could hire a home care aid, a nurse, or look at nursing home options.  Either way you need to do what’s best for your loved one and your family.

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