Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:
Cancer Caregiver Support: Caregiving & Bereavement Support with Ronni Levine, LMFT
Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode: Cancer Caregiver Support: Caregiving & Bereavement Support with Ronni Levine, LMFT
If you have an aging parent who is a primary caregiver it can be hard to know what to say and do. Caregivers, especially spouses, may be hesitant to ask for help or a break. They may think that this is part of the vow that they made, thru sickness and health. These 5 tips will give you some ideas of how to be helpful.
Simply being present and showing up for your caregiving parent can provide them with comfort and security in knowing that they're not alone. Caregiving can be challenging and rewarding.Hold space for both experiences. Some ways to be there and be present include:
like home health assistance (HHA), adult day programs, or respite care. Your caregiving parent may not be familiar with these options, or may feel too overwhelmed with day to day caregiving tasks to take the time to investigate and arrange formal caregiving options. This is where you come in. Offering to take the time to research formal care can help. There's an added benefit to this as well- Implementing formal caregiving resources can help delay placement of an older care recipient into assisted living and reduce stress for the caregiver.
This may be with a caregiver support group focused on the illness that they are caring for, with friends, a church group.
Encourage your caregiving parent to get social support so that they're not always in this caregiving role. Social support might include spending time with a friend, participating in a church group, or a community program, or attend a caregiver support group for the illness that the care recipient is living with. Many caregiver support groups are free.
There are dementia caregiver support groups through the Alzheimer's Association, cancer caregiver support groups through the National Cancer Foundation, etc.
Taking care of physical health will help your caregiving loved one to maintain optimal health during the caregiving journey, which is often long and arduous. Attending to physical health may include:
Caregivers have higher rates of stress and depression than non-caregivers. If you’re noticing signs of depression in your older caregiving parent, encourage them to reach out for mental health care. When mental health conditions go untreated in older adults. Learn more about the signs of depression here.
Not only does treating depression in older adults alleviate suffering, we know that when depression goes untreated in older adults they:
This is where you come in! First you can begin to shift your view that with age comes depression, and secondly, you can help your older loved one get connected to providers and resources that can help treat suffering and ease pain.
Please don’t ignore these signs and symptoms. Instead lean in, share your concerns, and help your older loved one get connected to providers.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or struggling with thoughts about harming themselves or others, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at +1 800-273-8255
I'm a Board Certified Clinical Psychologist and Gerontologist specializing with older adults and families! As founder and CEO of Gero Champions, LLC and the Psychology of Aging Podcast, my mission is to help mental health and senior care providers meet the mental health and sexual health needs of older adults using up to date, evidence-based, and culturally thoughtful care.
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