As the baby boomer generation ages into their 60’s, 70’s and beyond, some caregivers in the United States are finding their responsibilities heavier than ever.
The aging of the baby boom generation could fuel a 75 percent increase in the number of Americans ages 65 and older requiring nursing home care, to about 2.3 million in 2030 from 1.3 million in 2010, according to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) projects in a recent report.
If you find yourself entrusted with the care of an aging baby boomer, we know you will do your best to bear your responsibilities well; however, even the best of us struggle with patience on trying days. On days when everything just seems overwhelming, try to keep the following tips in mind.
- Communicate Well
So much of our interactions hinge on the ability to communicate well. This is especially true when working with older generations. When dealing with your loved one, it is preferable to ask him/her questions and what their preferences are instead of order him/her around. Also, use “I” instead of “you” language and offer choices to your loved one instead of simply issuing commands.
- Refrain from Arguments
When dealing with challenging situations, like episodes of Alzheimer’s or Dementia in your loved one, caregivers should refrain from arguments whenever possible. Instead, you should respond compassionately to the fears and concerns being expressed and do what is in your power to address these needs.
- Take Time Away for Yourself
Failure to rest and recharge will often lead caregivers to extend themselves beyond their abilities to bear under the load. Be sure to take regular time away from your responsibilities, in order to allow yourself room to recover your physical and emotional equilibrium. Also, you may consider getting help through Respite Care at a senior living community or with Home Care/Adult Day Care. As a caregiver, with the financial resources, Respite Care is a highly recommended way to get a mental and physical break from the rigors of taking care of a loved one.
Whether you manage a team of caregivers or work as a caregiver yourself, consider how best to put these tips into practice. In so doing, you could greatly enhance the level of care available to those within your sphere of influence.