Providing care for your loved one can be overwhelming, and if you try to do it by yourself for too long, you can become stressed and eventually burned out. There is no reason for you to feel that way because you can always pull together a care team for seniors to take some of the chores off your plate and allow you to enjoy your father’s company again.
There Is no “I” in Team
Start building your team by reaching out to your siblings or other family members who can play a part. Let everyone know that you are asking for help as well as identifying what your goals are: better care for your loved one and less responsibility for you.
Involve trusted professionals as well. If your parent is in a residential facility, you may want to approach an administrator or social worker to be a part of the team. If your loved one is aging in place and has a caregiver, you may want to also get that individual involved. An Aging Life Care™ manager can be a valuable member of a care team for seniors by providing expertise, professional guidance, and resources that you may not be able to access on your own.
You should also talk to your loved one about your idea; he or she should be on board before you get too far in the process of creating a team. You want to ensure your senior is comfortable with the arrangement and has no objections to any particular family member or other professional involvement.
Make a Plan
Brainstorm with your team members to create a list of your senior’s needs and other responsibilities that you may have been doing by yourself. This is another area where an Aging Life Care™ manager is a tremendous asset; she or he can bring up concerns you may not have considered as well as help you prioritize your loved one’s needs.
Appoint a primary advocate for your loved one. It can be you, since you have been acting in that role the whole time, or it may be the power of attorney or other individual who is ready to assume a leadership position on the team. If no one is willing or comfortable stepping up, you may decide to take turns on a rotating basis to take the lead, but that could make your team less cohesive.
Time to Delegate
Once you determine your senior’s needs, you should determine who can take responsibility for each task. Consider the strengths of your team members as well as each person’s schedules to make it work for everyone. If asking for help isn’t your strong suit, have the care manager on your team take charge of the delegating. He or she can be objective and possibly diffuse any tension caused by hurt feelings that can arise between family members, especially when the relationship dynamic is changed.
Keep in mind that some responsibilities can be handled remotely, which means not every team member has to live locally to play a part. Team members who may not be able to assist in person can contribute financially, whether is it ordering and shipping supplies or covering the cost of a caregiver or aide so that you or the primary caregiver can have respite care on a regular basis. The less you must do by yourself, the more freedom you may have for self-care, which in turn can relieve your stress and leave you better prepared to care for your loved one.
Communication Is Key
How do you stay connected with your care team for seniors? Communication is a must! You don’t have to schedule meetings if you have long distance team members or professionals with busy schedules, but you can touch base with a group text or group you create on Facebook, LinkedIn, or another social media platform. Be consistent with your communication so that none of the responsibilities for your loved one falls through the cracks. Checking in with your care team can also ensure that everyone is aware of any changes or developments in your senior’s condition.
Hopefully, these suggestions can inspire you to reach out to your support group and get a care team in place. If it takes a village to raise a child, surely it can take a care team for seniors to preserve your loved one’s quality of life and your sanity.
Best of luck!