Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stages of Being a Family Caregiver

Caring for elderly family members is an important task, and it is one that you can prepare for by understanding the several stages through which this responsibility evolves. By anticipating the care you will need to provide for your loved one in the future, you can better offer the senior care that your elderly family member needs.

Rachael, from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is preparing to care for her mother. Still living on her own, her mother is able to maintain most of her independence; however, she needs a bit of help with daily tasks. The doctor has told Rachael to prepare to step in and provide assistance within the next six months.

Preparation for such a task is emotional, mental, and physical. From juggling schedules to emotionally preparing to take care of a parent, it is important that caregivers are ready to take on this responsibility. Here are the six stages of care giving that Rachael has studied.

1.       Need for care is approaching: You know that your loved one will need assistance in the near future. You research ways to help your elderly loved one. 

2.       Need for care begins: You begin to care for your loved one, providing assistance with bills, errands, and daily tasks. During this stage, you learn what your loved one needs and what you can offer.

3.       Care is provided: For two to five years after beginning care, you provide daily assistance to your loved one. You may begin to feel the strain of care giving, but are happy to help.

4.       Care continues to be provided: After five years of care giving you enter this stage. You have experienced the ups and downs of being a caregiver and understand your loved one’s needs.

5.       Role as caregiver changes: Either you have decided to hire professional care providers or your loved one’s health is declining. Your role is changing, and your services as caregiver are no longer required to the extent that they once were.

6.       Role as caregiver ends: You reflect back on your experiences and strive to assist others in building successful care giving situations.
Rachael is preparing to care for her mother and, using her knowledge of these stages, will be ready to take on anything that her role as caregiver throws at her.

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