When you are caring for an aging adult, you may not be able to start and finish all the tasks you had in mind.
Your loved one’s needs are constantly changing. Sometimes it’s an urinary tract infection causing him/her to need assistance to the bathroom frequently. Sometimes it’s memory loss that causes him/her to search for something that is long gone. Sometimes, he/she wants to help out with tasks around the house that are no longer safe like turning on the stove or climbing a ladder. Trying to get things done can be trying on you.
We understand. Here’s how to handle it.
- Make a to-do list, but don’t expect to finish it.
- See what can be delegated to family or hired staff.
- Put away from view objects that may trigger unsafe impulses. For example, put away the crystal vase if it causes your loved one to try to reach the top of the bookshelf. Or, put away the photo of the fishing trip if it causes your loved one to “go walking to the pond.”
- Put into view objects that are comforting and reassuring. For example, display pictures of family, love notes from family members, a whiteboard with the current date or put on a favorite TV show. When your loved one is feeling safe and secure, they are more likely to relax, trust you and go with the flow.
- If you just can’t get to your to-do list, because you are busy providing care, forget about it. Enjoy the time you have with the one you love. You won’t have him/her forever.
- Don’t forget to love yourself. The care you give day-to-day matters a great deal.
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