Dysfunctional families are the comedic fodder of television and films. The humorous antics of miscommunication and misunderstanding create a ripple of laughter through the viewing crowd. Why do we laugh? Because, if we didn’t, most of us would likely cry. Current polling shows that over 80% of Americans view their own families as dysfunctional and not in the funny, ha-ha way. When children and parents struggle to see eye-to-eye and deep emotional conflicts arise, it can have long-term difficult outcomes. These issues continue to exist and really come to the forefront when an adult child needs to be a caregiver for an aging parent. The desire to avoid conflict can create a situation where care is limited or avoided, and this can lead to loneliness on the part of the aging person. Couple this with situations where the aging parent has limited transportation or mobility and they can quickly become shut-in and begin to fade rapidly.
How can you avoid this as a caregiver? The answer: don’t handle it yourself. Despite your deep feelings of obligation and sometimes guilt when you feel you should be handling their care because they can’t, you are entitled to protect your boundaries. But there are things you can do that won’t test those boundaries.
1. Reach out today to speak with us at 303-799-1313. As professional care managers, we deal with difficult family dynamics on a regular basis. We know that we can help manage care and provide the distance needed in difficult situations. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and we are professionals who do not judge your boundaries. We look at the needs of the aging person and work to meet those needs.
2. Helping with nutrition and food needs. If they need specialized food solutions, investigate hiring a personal chef who will visit with them to find out the foods they like and any limitations such as needing easy-to-chew foods, dislike for certain foods, allergies, etc. Personal chefs are not always as expensive as they sound, and many will come into your aging parent’s home to cook a weeks’ worth of meals and put them in storage containers that make it easy to re-heat. Ordering groceries via Instacart or food via DoorDash are also options. Ordering larger portions that can be split into 2 – 3 meals can be helpful.
3. Find pet help. If they have a dog that needs to be walked, you can search Rover and interview dog walkers that meet their needs. You can pay for the dog walking service if it will help make sure that you don’t need to take on that task. Ordering pet food or supplies from Chewy will have them delivered directly to them. Search for a mobile groomer who will go to their home and help with pet grooming needs. Today’s world of digital payments makes it easy for you to pay for these services that take them off your plate.
4. Hire a cleaning service (also applies to landscaping). Hiring reputable service providers will help them stay clean and safe and means that you don’t have to do it.
By helping provide services and care for your aging parent, it is possible to help them avoid social isolation even if the family dynamic is very difficult. It reduces your stress by having others do the work that is needed and taking it off your plate. You are also able to reduce the amount of interaction that you need to have with the family members so if you have limited or no contact with them, you are still helping them get their needs met without affecting the boundaries you have set.
The first step is to reach out to us today because we understand and are able to help. Call 303-799-1313 or email Lily.Hotaling@AnswersforSeniorCare.com today, and we’ll be happy to help.