Introduction to Aged Care: How to Care for Elderly Family Members
It’s a common scenario among people to compare the struggles of taking care of a growing child and an ageing parent. However, Iona, an ageing organisation in the United States, stated that the two are separate and should not be compared directly to one another.
The organisation explains the demands of childcare should not be underestimated, but taking care of the elderly is another experience altogether. Here’s the difference when it comes to ageing care:
- Majority of caregivers do not have the nine months of preparation that being experienced by soon to be parents
- Families do not throw off parties in relation to ageing care
- There are no implicit rules on roles
- There is no perfect timing in getting paid help
- Taking care of the elderly is not often being talked about
Ageing is part of the life cycle of a human and it affects every person eventually. Being the adult with ageing parents, it’s our primary responsibility to take care of our parents, grandparents or immediate family members.
Even if they’re still strong enough to tend for themselves, there will come a time they will need your helping hand. The well-being of our parents is the best of what we, as their children, can wish and work for as they age and live out their remaining years in comfort and in happiness.
The act of Age Care is the process of taking care of an elderly person’s emotional, mental and physical well-being, whether family member or not.
In terms of taking care of our elderly loved ones, family members are often the ones taking care of their grandparents or growing parents. According to Founder of in-home care group Home Instead Senior Care Martin Warner, it’s not uncommon for one sibling to be responsible for taking care of their ageing parents.
But, there are instances wherein other family members clash with each other when it comes to what is the best care for their growing loved ones — and one of the reasons is other members are not around the elderly on a daily basis.
The tension between siblings or other family members is a common scenario in this situation. The process is complicated and overwhelming, but there are ways to get resolve it peacefully. With this, we have gathered tips on how to make your age care process go smoothly from within the family:
Tip #1: Converse with them
Mr Warner said: “The starting point is to have a conversation. That isn’t always easy because siblings may not always have got on together, but they need to start looking through that.”
There are times when our ageing parents are stubborn enough in not asking help. So, when they’re hesitant to ask for help, don’t be surprised or be shocked. It’s not really that easy for them to do so because of the idea of being the parent — the responsibility of taking care of their children and not the other way around.
In starting the conversation, emphasise your willingness in taking care of them, helping them in their needs, and how you’re going to make it convenient for them daily.
On the other hand, as a first-time caregiver, you can ask for advice from a physician or social worker to help you and also provide insights for your ageing parents about the benefits of age care.
Tip #2: Know your responsibilities
Aged care is such a broad term that it can cover anything from small to big tasks. From daily transportation to handling your parents’ real estate, as long as it involves parents, it can go under the caregiving category. Tasks can vary depending on the caregiver’s dedicated time.
As a caregiver, it’s important to find out what your responsibilities are. In between conversations, you can start the topic in order to set ground rules and boundaries that establishes your place in when or where you’ll be there to help your ageing parents in their day-to-day routine.
A lot of things can happen when there are no ground rules and what tasks should you do as your loved one’ caregiver. One of the negative outcomes can be resentment in between the two parties. Other responsibilities, such as cleaning, driving them to their doctor appointments, can be seen as mundane, but will eventually cause stress when added up with each other, and also cause miscommunication between family members.
Tip #3: Do your research
If you’re responsible for taking care of an ageing parent with a chronic condition or illness, the first step is to understand and learn more about their illness.
As a caregiver, it’s also your responsibility to learn as much as possible about your loved one’s illness in order to know in what ways you can help in managing their health and assist them with their needs — in which includes lifestyle modifications, nutritional needs, medication, and treatments or tools that help them ease what they’re feeling or going through.
One way of understanding their diagnosis is coming with your ageing loved ones in their doctor’s appointments as much as possible while doing personal research on the side. With this, you are equipped with questions that you’ll ask their doctors to know more about the illness and diagnoses and how it affects them daily.
Tip #4: Seek government help
In Australia, the government offers financial help for people caring for an older Australians. These payments are made specifically to help you to provide full-time care and attention to them.
There are Carer Payment and Carer Allowance to help you in providing care for an ageing loved one that has either an illness, disability, or is getting weaker through age.
Other financial help available for carers is the Carer Supplement and Special Disability Trust. The Carer Supplement is a lump sum payment made every year to help with the costs of ageing Australians that have either a disability or medical condition. The Special Disability Trust, on the other hand, is focused on families that have members with a severe disability to help with future care and accommodation needs.
The government also offers financial help to people in need of care, which are the Essential Medical Equipment Payment and Financial Information Service.
The Essential Medical Equipment Payment is focused on helping reduce costs for those in need of required medical equipment. Heating and cooling are included as long as connected to medical reasons.
On the other hand, the Financial Information Service offers free and confidential service for Australians in terms of financial services.
These government funding schemes have its terms, conditions, and eligibility. Make sure to contact the government for more information.
Tip #5: Join a community of caregivers
Caregiving touches on different aspects of a carer’s well-being. The daily activity takes a toll on emotional, mental, and physical well-being of a person.
Even though the task is more towards to loved ones being cared for, you should also be able to focus on yourself in between. And this is where caregiver communities come in. There are different communities that offer caregiver support groups to help caregivers with their situation. There are even subgroups that focus on a certain condition or illness, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s.
Taking care of the ageing focuses more on person-centred support within a community or residential property and empowering them through daily assistance to their daily routine. Working in this field involves dedication and willingness to take care of the elderly in order to give them the tender love and care they deserve.
Aged care and caregiving can also be a career, there are various outlets that can help you learn, such as MCIE. Take Certificate III Individual Support classes through MCIE and get a Certificate III in Individual Support to help you become a care worker, community care worker, and more.
For enquiries, contact MCIE today: Call: 1300 737 004 during Monday to Friday at 9:00am to 5:00pm or Email: email email@example.com or visit the Contact Us Page: https://www.mcie.edu.au/contact/