There are many reasons a parent or loved one might need in home care. Age-related changes like diminishing vision or inability to lift heavy things might mean that your father or mother needs help accomplishing daily tasks. An unexpected illness or diagnosis, on the other hand, might carry more of a shock or surprise, especially with something like early-onset Alzheimer’s. In these instances, grief, confusion, and distress might contribute to making a situation more complicated.
In the event that an elderly parent needs a caretaker due to age-related changes or sudden illness/injury, the burden may fall on one sibling more than the others (perhaps only one sibling is willing or able to take on a caretaker role). This may be due to geographical distance, financial ability, or a variety of other reasons.
Becoming a primary caretaker can be rewarding, yet difficult, work, especially if you don’t have any training. When the work falls unevenly between grown children, it can occasionally lead to some hard feelings (read here to learn about keeping the peace between siblings). With that in mind, we wanted to round up some ways that family members and friends can help a primary caretaker, even if they’re not geographically close or able to pick up some of the tasks. Most of these can be done yourself, or hired out...either way, your elderly parent and the primary caretaker will be very grateful that you looked at these resources for caregivers!
Here are three great ways to help a caretaker:
Provide meal delivery for a week. Whether you’re cooking yourself or want to use a meal delivery service, everyone needs to eat! You can have meals sent to your elderly parent, OR you can send them to your brother/sister/cousin to ease their burden when they’re not caring for a loved one. Regardless of who is on the receiving end, it is always nice to have help with meal preparation and clean up. Meal delivery is also a really great option for someone who is homebound and not able to go out easily. Here are some options for healthy, tasty, meal delivery service in the greater Philadelphia area:
Find housekeeping services. Let’s be honest - most people enjoy clean baseboards, clear windows, and spotless bathrooms, but who wants to do that work on a frequent basis? Chances are, if someone has recently become a primary caretaker for a family member, they might be overwhelmed with all the tasks to accomplish - meal preparation, bathing and toileting, keeping track of finances, etc. Hiring someone on a one-time or recurring basis (or doing the work yourself) can really help out. Here are some resources for caretakers in the greater Philadelphia area:
Babysit or provide a ‘date night out.’ This is something you can do for a sibling or family member who has taken on the responsibilities of being a primary caretaker that will provide a lot of relief. Caring for another human can be a full-time requirement, but it’s important that caretakers get a break, too...especially if they have children as well as an elderly parent that needs help! Babysitting might be hard to do if you’re not living in the same geographic area, but if you are, it’s a wonderful opportunity to help someone who is helping others.
We hope you enjoyed this quick look at three ways to help primary caretakers. Should your family find themselves in this position and need some assistance, please contact Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses or visit our Services page today!