Did you know over 2.7 million Australians provide care for an ageing relative or a loved one with disability? Although rewarding, being a primary caregiver for a family member can be a tough gig. In terms of hours, providing care can be equivalent to a full-time job. Many carers look after the everyday needs of their loved one for more than 35 hours per week.
If you’re caring for an ageing grandparent, don’t feel you have to do it alone. Here are some tips that may help you find the balance between providing care and finding time for your own needs.
Prioritise their wellbeing
Because you want the best for your loved one, it’s easy to take on more responsibility than needed, without realising it. Hit the pause button just for a moment, to work out the best type of care you can provide for your grandparent. For example, is their mobility an issue? If so, they may need more help around the home. Someone to assist with physically demanding tasks, and not so much assistance with personal care needs. Consider delegating the bulk of the housework, lawn mowing, and garden care to a home care provider. This leaves you free to tend to their personal care. If cognitive decline is a concern, it may be in the best interests of your grandparent to engage some professional help. Community nursing services will offer your grandparent the medical care they need in the comfort of home. This allows you time to meet their other care needs.
Prioritising the type of care your grandparent requires, and sharing the duties, has its benefits. It will give you more time to focus on your grandchild-grandparent relationship, which is crucial for their overall wellbeing.
Caring for a grandparent may leave little time for you to also support their social needs. Disengaging with the community may decrease feelings of self-worth. It may also evoke feelings of dejection. To promote a healthy mind-set, try to ensure your grandparent has some social or community interaction. There are many ways to enjoy community participation. Perhaps your grandparent would benefit from time with a community group, engaging with others who share a common interest. Or, they may prefer to go out for a coffee and chat at a local café. Many home care providers offer services that support people with community involvement, as well as transport to help them get there. And, while your grandparent is out enjoying some social interaction, you have the chance for some much-needed “me time”.
To be able to provide your grandparent with the best care possible, you also need to care for yourself. It’s hard to be a caregiver when you’re feeling tired and worn out. Respite care may just be the answer, and it’s a service offered by many home care providers. Qualified, compassionate carers can ensure your grandparent is well cared for, while you take a break. Respite care can be provided in the home, or by supporting your grandparent on an outing in the community. Regular respite care can benefit both you and your loved one. They may feel refreshed spending time with someone new, and you can have some time to recharge your batteries.
For information on Home Care Packages, click here. Or, to learn more about home care services and how they may help you and your grandparent, click here.