When a loved one is struggling to carry out an activity, our first instinct, with all the best of intentions, is generally to step in and take care of it ourselves. But is this really helping your loved one – or could it be hindering?

The stark reality is, there is a fine line between guaranteeing an older adult’s wellbeing and depriving the senior of independence. In fact, a person’s self-worth and purpose are important to health and wellbeing.

Dr. Barry J. Jacobs, clinical psychologist, family therapist, and healthcare consultant who co-authored the book AARP Meditations for Caregivers, shares from his own experience with caring for his mom: “With all my best intentions and concerted energies, I mostly succeeded in curbing her independence and squelching her spirit. She didn’t see me as her caring son so much as the overbearing usurper of roles she cherished.”

The following tips help family caregivers better understand the best time to intervene – and when to step back:

  • Employ patience. Plan your day to allow for enough time for the senior loved one to work through activities at a pace that’s most comfortable. When we’re hurried and harried, we are very likely to move in and take over. Just a little extra time can certainly make a huge difference in increasing the person’s confidence level.
  • Stress the positives. While it’s correct that particular activities might have become too tough to manage independently, uncover work-around methods that ensure the individual can continue to be involved in the activity based on the person’s individual strengths. If loading clothes into and out of the washer and dryer is difficult, the individual might still be capable of sorting and folding clothes.
  • Encourage input. Have an honest, open, heart-to-heart discussion with your loved one to make clear his or her expectations about your role in providing care support. Is the senior loved one troubled with relinquishing specific areas of everyday life? What are the most pressing needs? Companionship as well as other emotional care? Physical assistance with ambulation, bathing, and getting dressed? Keeping up the home and yard? Come together to devise a strategy in order to meet these needs in a fashion that is acceptable to both yourself and the senior.

It’s also a smart idea to explore the concept of enlisting the aid of a competent in-home senior care provider, such as Enhanced Home Care. Frequently, family caregivers become overloaded with taking care of housework, meal preparation, running errands, transportation, and personal care needs, leaving too little time to simply appreciate spending quality time with the senior they love.

Enhanced Home Care, the dementia care Kansas City leaders, offers a complete range of personalized services to address each one of these needs and so much more, making sure that older adults in Kansas City and the surround areas are safe, while empowering them to stay as independent as possible. Contact us via our online form or give us a call at 913-327-0000 to ask about a free in-home consultation, and strike a healthy life balance – both for the senior you love, and yourself.

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