How Can Caregivers Strike a Balance between Helping & Enabling?

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Can Caregivers Strike a Balance between Helping & Enabling in Austin, TX

As a family caregiver, you want to do what’s best for your older loved one, but it isn’t always easy to know exactly what that means. It’s difficult for caregivers to walk the fine line between giving their loved ones the help they need and enabling unhealthy behaviors that could be detrimental to their parents’ long-term wellbeing. How can you navigate this gray area, helping your loved one when he or she truly needs it without enabling behavior that ultimately diminishes independence and quality of life?

Determine the Level of Assistance Your Loved One Needs

While some aging adults are reluctant to ask for or accept assistance, others expect their caregivers to always be available to wait on them hand and foot, even if they’re in good health and able to handle daily activities independently. Of course, if your loved one is ill or recovering from an injury, he or she will need your assistance. However, it’s important to remember that in many cases, seniors heal faster and more completely when they do more for themselves as they recover so they can gradually get back to their old routines. If you continue to do everything for your loved one, you run the risk of hindering his or her progress.

Seek the advice of your loved one’s doctor to gauge how much your parent can do independently and what level of assistance you need to provide. Depending on your parent’s mental and physical health, he or she may only need help with a few tasks, such as grocery shopping and housekeeping, or your loved one may require a higher level of care, such as assistance with bathing, grooming, and dressing.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality in-home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.

Set Boundaries

Aging adults may ask for help with tasks they can perform on their own simply because they crave companionship. If your loved one lives alone, he or she may feel isolated or bored and constantly call you to assist with mundane things just to have some company. While it’s important for your loved one to enjoy socialization and companionship, it’s also essential for you to have the time and space to take care of yourself and the other responsibilities you have in your life, and relying solely on you for social interaction can have negative consequences for your loved one. Encourage him or her to join clubs based on his or her interests and attend events at the local senior center. 

Setting boundaries will benefit both you and your parent. Reassure your loved one that you’re available for emergencies and specific tasks, and make sure to visit him or her on a regular basis just to chat and see how he or she is getting along. This will show your parent you offer your love and attention freely, so he or she won’t have to find excuses to get you to visit.

For families living in Austin, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

Encourage Independence

It’s difficult to strike a balance between helping and enabling, and there isn’t a single formula for determining whether you’re helping or hurting your loved one by providing extensive assistance. However, even if your parent is living with physical or mental challenges, there are likely some areas where he or she can exercise at least a small degree of independence, and this should be encouraged as much as possible. For example, if your loved one can still cook but is unable to drive to the grocery store, show him or her how to order the ingredients for nutritious meals from an online delivery service. 

It’s important to avoid making decisions about how much assistance to offer your loved one based on guilt, and be careful not to get caught up in self-doubt. Rely on the information you have at the moment, and accept the fact that you won’t always make perfect choices.

A professional home caregiver can be a fantastic source of support for both you and your loved one. Austin home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (512) 623-7800 today.

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