Taking care of a senior loved one can be difficult, and unintentional mistakes can be made. If you are currently serving as a caregiver, or think you might be serving as one soon, you can avoid making some common mistakes by understanding why they happen and how to solve them.
Thinking You Can Do It Alone
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes an adult child makes when caring for a loved one is believing that you can provide the necessary care on your own. This effort can lead to caregiver stress, affecting the level of care you are able to offer them, not to mention your own health and well-being. Not everyone can be a caregiver, and therefore you should actively seek out a care support network to ensure that you and your loved one are healthy and happy.
Incorrectly Managing Medication
Managing your loved one’s medication correctly is very important in ensuring their health and safety. Unfortunately, medication mistakes, like incorrectly filling a pill organizer or storing medication, are quite common. Mistakes like these can be very harmful to your loved one, as they may not take their medications correctly or take conflicting medications.
To correctly manage your loved one’s medications, be sure to:
- Create a list of all current medications, including over-the-counter supplements, that includes how it’s taken, for how long, and name of prescribing physician. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of past medications so doctors can have a full medication history.
- Only get prescriptions filled at one pharmacy so the pharmacists have a record of all medications.
- Learn how each medication is to be taken and stored for increased safety.
Bethesda offers a free Personal Emergency Medical Information Kit, whose content includes an area for listing medication and can be invaluable during a medical emergency.
Not Planning Ahead
Planning ahead in case of medical emergency or for every day care is a very important part of adult children caring for their loved one. Caretakers may not plan ahead because:
- They believe they can handle crises as they come.
- They don’t believe anything serious will happen.
- They forgot or don’t allocate the time to plan.
Regardless of the reason, adult children who don’t plan ahead can be faced with difficult decisions like end-of-life care. Regularly talk to your loved one about the future so nothing comes as a surprise and everyone is prepared for different possibilities.
Overlooking Signs That Your Loved One Needs Additional Help
Sometimes, it can be difficult to recognize the signs that an aging loved one needs additional help, like the kind of food in their refrigerator (more TV dinners than fresh food) or their lack of socializing. These habits that form as we age can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, both physically and emotionally.
Routinely taking note of your loved one’s living habits can lead to better care. If you notice that they need additional help, take action. If your loved one isn’t eating healthy, add homemade prepared meals to their refrigerators or have healthy meals delivered to their home. If they aren’t socializing, consider moving them to a retirement home, where they can make friends with peers.
If you’re an adult child having difficulty caring for your loved one on a regular basis and cannot make these changes to your routine, consider talking to them about assisted living. In an assisted living environment, your loved one retains their independence while having their daily needs, like regular meals and medication management, taken care of and you can have peace of mind knowing that they’re safe and well looked after.