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Three Tips to Save Senior Caregivers Stress

By June Duncan

Some days it feels like the entire world has stopped spinning, but those of us who care for elderly or disabled loved ones in decline know that isn’t the case. When it comes to making long-term care decisions -- such as whether seniors should sell their current homes and move into a senior living facility -- it’s clear that some things just can’t wait.

Watching a loved one grow older can be bittersweet. On the one hand, you may be thankful for each and every moment with them. On the other, you may also be faced with the difficult task of deciding whether they need more care than you can provide on your own.

Thankfully, you don’t have to make these painful decisions on your own. If you have concerns and questions, this compassionate guide can provide some much-needed peace of mind.

Dealing With Financial Stress

Caring for an older loved one can, unfortunately, come with some considerable costs. Not just for your emotions but also your finances. If you have been stressed out about being able to pay for the care your loved one needs, there are quite a few options available to you.

If your loved one owns a home, it is still possible to sell it. If you plan on selling your loved one’s home, you should discuss this and determine if it’s the best choice. You should also make sure your loved one gets the most return on investment by making any needed repairs before putting the house on the market. When it comes time for the open house, make sure the home is spotless and personal touches are removed.

Your loved one may also be eligible for healthcare and government benefits that can offset senior care expenses. For example, if your loved one is a veteran, he/she may be eligible for long-term care benefits. And if you've lost income due to caregiving responsibilities, you also have options for financial assistance.

Processing Difficult Emotions

Financial pressures can be immense when you’re charged with helping a senior family member get the care they need. At the same time, you may also be dealing with the pressures of your emotions. Feelings of guilt, anxiety, anger, and sadness are all very common.

You may feel angry at your loved one for refusing the care and help they need, or you may feel guilty if they need to make the transition to assisted living. Know that these emotions are all very normal. Try to be patient and compassionate with yourself as you process these feelings.

It’s also important that you seek support when dealing with this complex transition. Because being a family caregiver can be so overwhelming, there are several online guides and resources available. Tips in these resources include getting counseling and practicing self-care. All of which can help family caregivers avoid feeling overwhelmed or burned out.

Helping Seniors With Moving Tasks

This can be another source of stress for family caregivers. Moving a senior is often more complicated, and seemingly simple projects can feel more difficult. One example is the downsizing and decluttering process, which is necessary for safety or if your loved one will be moving to assisted living.

You should first approach the conversation around downsizing belongings with compassion. Remember that everyday objects may hold emotions and memories for your loved one, and it can be hard for them to give them up.

It may also be worthwhile to hire a senior move manager or other professionals to help your family with this transition. Managing a move can be stressful, but by tapping into some assistance, you can make things easier.

Managing care and a move for a senior family member is stressful enough under normal circumstances. When you’re a caregiver trying to accomplish this in the middle of a public health crisis, you’re bound to have some extra stress. If you try out the tips above, you’ll be better equipped to protect your loved one and your own emotional well-being.

By: June Duncan
june@riseupforcaregivers.org
www.riseupforcaregivers.org

Resources

--- Everything to Know About Selling a House During Coronavirus. Redfin. Retrieved 2021, June 18 from https://www.redfin.com/guides/selling-home-during-coronavirus 

--- Family Members and Caregivers. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved 2021, June 18 from https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Family-Members-and-Caregivers

--- Paying for Care. National Institute on Aging. Retrieved on 2021, June 21. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/paying-care

Bursak, Carol Bradley. The Emotional Toll of Moving Your Elderly Parent to Senior Living. AgingCare. Retrieved 2021, June 18 from https://www.agingcare.com/articles/moving-elderly-parents-from-home-to-senior-housing-136651.htm

Feeney, Caroline. Need 2021, August 6. Need Help Downsizing? How a Senior Move Manager Can Simplify Your Move. HomeLight. https://www.homelight.com/blog/senior-move-manager/

Fisher, Margie Zable Fisher. 2020, August 5. Where Family Caregivers Can Get Financial Assistance. Next Avenue. https://www.nextavenue.org/family-caregivers-financial-assistance/

Healthline Editorial Team. How to Care for Yourself When You Have Caregiver Burnout. Healthline. Updated 2021, April 26. https://www.healthline.com/health/health-caregiver-burnout

Thorsby, Devon. 10 Tips for a Successful Open House. U.S. News and World Report. 2021, May 27. https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/tips-for-a-successful-open-house 

Zaleski, Annie. Downsizing Dilemmas: How to Help Parents Clean Out Human Good. Retrieved 2021, June 18 from https://www.humangood.org/resources/senior-living-blog/how-to-help-parents-downsize

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