Caregivers and their aging adults have slightly different needs depending on which stage of the caregiving journey they’re in. This list can help you to determine where you fall in the various stages.
Anticipating Future Caregiving
You may still live far away from your aging adult or her circumstances may be under control for now. But you’re still aware that in the not too distant future, your elderly family member is going to need some more help. This may be the stage in which you make changes to your own life in order to anticipate providing more help.
A New Caregiver
As a beginning caregiver, you’re diving right into the caregiving experience. Whether your senior has had a sudden illness or injury or you’ve eased into this gradually, you’re now finding yourself assisting your aging adult more and more. You might be handling specific tasks for your senior, such as paying her bills for her or taking over cooking for her. It’s normal in this stage to feel lost, too, and to wonder if you’re doing the right things.
You’ve Got Some Experience
From here, you’re gaining experience and possibly taking over more and more complicated tasks for your elderly family member. You might be coordinating care for her and handling issues such as transportation if she’s not able to drive any longer. You may also start to think about what happens as your elderly family member’s health changes, if it hasn’t already.
A Transitioning Caregiver
At some point, your caregiving journey is going to start a transition to end-of-life caregiving. Your elderly family member may have a terminal illness or she may slowly find herself fading. During this time, you’re working toward putting your senior’s wishes for the end of her life into action so that her needs and wants are both met.
Your Caregiving Journey Is Over
When your elderly family member passes away, you’re abruptly no longer a caregiver, but that doesn’t turn off those feelings. You need to give yourself time to grieve and to find your own place in your life once again. It can be a difficult transition for many caregivers, especially if they’ve been helping family members for many years.
No matter which stage of caregiving you’re in right now, senior care providers can help you to manage your elderly family member’s needs. They can also help you to maintain a balance in your own life so that caregiving doesn’t take over completely.