You are asking yourself why mom has been so short with you? Why she makes you feel like you can’t do anything right? You have taken her to her hair appointment, made sure there was food in the refrigerator, and even did a load of laundry for her during your weekly visit. This is something that happens to all caregivers in one way or another. Of course, you will experience it in varied degrees depending on what is going on with your loved one. It stings a little more when you are a family caregiver whose loved one is still at home and makes you feel like you are 55 going on 15.
A couple of things to keep in mind when your loved one is making you feel unappreciated:
1. Observe your loved one – Is there noticeable pain from perhaps an unreported fall or just pain in general?
2. Has your loved one been drinking plenty of water? This is not always easy to determine but it can be an important factor.
3. Medication is not being taken consistently. Some medications cause a lot of issues when they are missed or taken too much.
4. Have there been incontinence changes including more frequent urination as a result of refusing to take in more water or possibly a UTI?
5. Are they having an overall feeling of not understanding what is happening to them such as their mobility and dementia are progressing?
What can be happening with them is none, one or all of the above, which may require a trip to the doctor to rule out anything medical. It is common for the elderly to lose their filters when communicating so they come across angry, short toned, or shut down communication completely.
Sometimes your loved one’s behaviors are due to depression or can be generational and they really aren’t grateful for their life in the first place. They have had to work for everything they have, and are not one bit happy about the limitations that their health and age have handed them.
As a caregiver, here a few tips to get you through those moments when you feel unappreciated:
1. Appreciate and reward yourself – know what you are doing is important and you are tasked with doing whether by choice or chance.
2. Don’t take it personal – this requires some self-talk and positive affirmations.
3. You are not responsible for their health or behavior.
4. Lighten the mood with some humor.
5. Redirect your loved one to a topic or memory that may buy you some room to take care of your task at hand or even make them smile for a moment.
6. Don’t always feel like you need to jump into your task the minute you arrive – take the time to sit with them, ask about them, and ask if there is anything you can do for them. Most of our elderly need that time to transition mentally to your visit whether you are family or not, so a little meet-and-greet initially goes a long way.
7. Seek out help from a Professional Aging Life Care Manager® to organize services that will relieve you or take over some of your duties.
There isn’t any magic dust or a wand you can wave. A Care Manager has the experience to address your concerns and those that your loved one may express in an interview. They can offer professional solutions based on the interview to include short-term or long-term care with attention to your loved one remaining in the home. They can advocate for your loved one, and even accompany them to appointments. They specialize in helping your loved one stay at home but if they need on or are in a care facility, they will welcome them as a client. If you want eyes and ears on the ground and want to know that your loved one is receiving the best care, then having a care manager involved in the process is very important. The results of their assessments and care plans show a clear path they will follow to help your aging parent and the involved family members to reduce stress.
If you have been considering that you need respite, then it’s time to reach out to our office and we’ll help figure out how to get the care needed so you can get the break that you need and deserve. You’re doing the best that you can!
Please give us a call at 317-300-5454 or email us at Shannon@AgingLifeCareConsultants.com to find out more!