Having a prolonged life does not guarantee ease in taking care of themselves. Many times as our family members age they start having challenges with balance, driving, memory, and general home care. We may be called upon to assist in helping with their daily lives. Most of us have never contemplated the idea of caring for our grandparents, parents, or possibly even uncles and aunts. We are ill equipped for the challenges. It really depends on the level of assistance needed.
One of the first items many elderly people need is assistance with their finances. They may have plenty of money and sources of consistent income like Social Security and a pension plan, but have become inefficient at managing their money, and paying their own bills. This can become a serious problem very quickly. We have all heard the horror stories as sales people discover their weakness for saying no and bleed their bank accounts dry. Watch for any indications of financial issues early, and make sure to help protect their nest egg.
Most times the caregiving starts off on a small scale. It could be as easy as helping with the housekeeping a few times each month. This becomes especially true in homes with multiple floors. Don't wait for a request for help, keep an eye open to see if there are any challenges dealing with stairs. Taking a few hours each month to clean the upstairs bedrooms to help out your older family members, is a great investment in protecting their health and safety.
Long before our parents and grandparents recognize their challenges in driving, we will have noticed. This is a very challenging time in everyone's lives. You need to take away a little of their freedom to protect them. In the same moment you recognize you will also be losing a portion of your freedom.
Your role as a part-time caregiver will suddenly include being a chauffeur. Our elderly have more medical appointments, and other errands than most of us. You will need to understand your role in caregiving will require giving up your free time to get them to all of their important appointments.
As you start participating in caregiving for your relatives, you will find many challenges to overcome. You will also find new opportunities to enjoy their company, learn from their wisdom, and to share in their smiles. The rewards of being a part of their lives will far outweigh the challenges you may face.
Your job first starts by keeping an eye on your family. Don't wait until it is too late to take action.