How to Keep Motivating Seniors from Crossing the Line to Bullying

Married couple argumentAs a family caregiver, you no doubt encounter a range of emotions throughout the day: shared laughter over a joke with your loved one; worry over a health concern; and certainly, from time to time, frustrations. We want only the best for those we love, and when an older adult is resistant to doing something we know is best, it can be challenging to determine the most appropriate response.

The key is to offer motivation and encouragement, while being careful not to cross the line into bullying the senior. These tips are good to keep in mind:

  • There’s no one-size-fits-all. An approach that works on one occasion may be completely ineffective in another. If the senior refuses to take a bath, for instance, you may simply want to let the matter slide and try again tomorrow. Or, maybe reframing bath time into a soothing spa activity will hold more appeal. Incorporating humor may work well one day, while using a gentler, softer tone of voice may be the solution on another. Having a variety of strategies at the ready can help reduce frustration for both of you.
  • Empower the senior to remain in control. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with the senior during a calm, peaceful moment to solicit feedback on how the caregiving relationship is going, and what he or she would like to see changed. It’s important to then take to heart the older adult’s feedback and incorporate it into your caregiving approach.
  • Be mindful of incremental bullying. While we certainly would never set out to bully a loved one into compliance, it’s possible to gradually progress from encouragement and motivation into pushiness and forcefulness without realizing it. Take an honest look at your tendencies in communicating with your loved one, and then take steps to improve upon them if needed.
  • Remember the overarching priority. Above and beyond the many tasks required in providing care for a senior loved one, maintaining a healthy, positive and fulfilling relationship with each other is paramount. If you find that the frustrations of providing care are outweighing the benefits for either of you at any time, there’s always the possibility of exploring alternate care options, allowing you to place your focus on spending quality time together with the senior you love.

Generations at Home is the perfect partner for family caregivers. Our caregiving staff are fully trained and experienced in the many facets of senior home care, and can provide the assistance family members need to maintain healthy relationships with those they love. Contact us online or call 727-940-3414 and request an in-home consultation to discover the difference respite care can make in both a senior’s quality of life and yours.

How Caring for Aging Parents is Causing Many People to Quit Their Jobs

businesswoman looking out of an office window

Family caregiving can have a large impact on work performance.

Recently, actor Rob Lowe brought family caregiving into the spotlight by sharing his story of caring for his mother and the toll it took on his own life. He explains, “When you’re caring for a loved one, there’s nothing you won’t do to give them as much comfort and peace of mind as you can possibly provide. Often that means you’ll skip your social obligations, wreck your diet, suffer sleep deprivation, and even risk your career.”

Of course, this is nothing new to the vast majority of the U.S. workforce (3 out of 4 employees) who are simultaneously providing care for someone at home. And according to a survey conducted by Harvard Business School, 80% of those family caregivers are struggling to keep up with their career commitments as a result of their caregiving duties. And nearly a third of them end up relinquishing their careers to focus more on the care their loved one requires.

Yet conversely, employers seem to be less aware of the challenges faced by their employees, and the stress that results from juggling responsibilities between home and work, noting in the survey excuses such as, “It’s none of our business,” and “The volume of use of caregiving benefits is low enough that it is not necessary to track it.” And the majority of those employees are in agreement that their organization’s culture is not as supportive as they’d like with regard to meeting needs on the job as well as at home.

So how can employees help to drive the workplace changes needed to ensure that the ever-growing army of working family caregivers receives both the understanding and resources needed for a successful work/life balance? It begins with speaking up to create the necessary awareness of the issue. Employers need to understand the impact family caregiving has on their staff in order to retain the employees most likely to leave over caregiving stress: younger workers, higher-ranking workers, and higher-earning workers. Research and recommend caregiving benefits the employer can offer, and then don’t be afraid to use those benefits when offered.

Additionally, keep in mind that Generations at Home in St. Petersburg, FL provides a highly personalized care solution that allows employed family members to focus more fully on their careers, knowing their senior loved ones are receiving the high quality care they need at home. Contact us online or call us at 727-940-3414 to arrange for a free in-home consultation to learn more about our professional in-home care services for seniors, and how we can partner with your employer to explore caregiving benefit offerings for employees.

Life with an Aging Parent: Are You Becoming a Helicopter Child?

helicopter parents sandwich generation

Are you guilty of hovering too closely over your senior parents when it comes to home healthcare?

We’ve all known helicopter parents, particularly when a son or daughter goes off to college. The fact is, we might be guilty of hovering a tad too closely ourselves. Discovering that appropriate balance between caring and overstepping our boundaries is not very easy.

And now, due to the added number of sandwich generationers providing care for both aging parents and children, we’re at risk of acquiring an additional badge of overbearingness: that of a helicopter child. It’s not uncommon for adult children to find themselves slipping into a role reversal in regard to their senior parents, with the very best of intentions, of course; obviously, we would like to keep our loved ones safe. Nevertheless, this could lead senior loved ones to feel indignant, upset, or frustrated at their newfound loss of control.

If you believe you are infringing on your elderly parent’s rights and sense of self-worth and control, here is insight on how to come in for a landing, and resolve to step in only when absolutely necessary.

Discuss expectations. Engage your parent in a conversation about aging expectations, and exactly how she would want you to help with obtaining those goals. For example, in the event the senior were to be diagnosed with dementia, would the personal preference be to move into an assisted living facility, or stay at home with support? If the senior were to fall, necessitating surgery or rehabilitation, how would she picture her healing experience? Would she be happy getting assistance with personal care tasks, including bathing and using the toilet, from you or from a skilled caregiver?

Speak up when necessary. When safety is jeopardized, it is crucial to step in, keeping a respectful, collaborative mind-set. The objective is to ensure that the senior preserves as much self-sufficiency as is feasible. If she’s hesitant to accept assistance or even to make prudent decisions, such as using a walker when needed to avoid a fall, it may be beneficial to enlist the help of her medical doctor or a geriatric care manager to offer suggestions.

Otherwise, step back. If you want to control circumstances that are not affecting the senior’s health or safety, and she is cognitively still capable of making her own decisions, it is far better to let those concerns go. “A child should be sensitive to a parent’s need for self-determination and maintaining self-identity,” shares Barry Jacobs, clinical psychologist and author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping Aging Parents.

Get in contact with Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 for expert senior care assistance which is always geared towards ensuring as much independence as possible for senior loved ones, permitting family caregivers the opportunity to step back and give their parents the independence that they need while remaining safe.