We are going to continue on our educational series to support family caregivers of elderly loved ones. This month, In Home Solutions offers tips for providing comfort care to loved ones.
“Your loved one has experienced many losses, including the loss of control over their own life when they rely on another person for care,” said In Home Solutions Spiritual Counselor Lori Parks. “They are going through some emotional and spiritual pain.”
Parks encourages caregivers to talk to a social worker, clergy or spiritual counselor to find resources for emotional and spiritual support in the community for their loved one.
Talk about their feelings. Take time to talk to your loved one about how they are feeling. “Be patient and listen to what they have to say,” Parks said. “Do not try to talk them out of how they feel. Instead just acknowledge and empathize.”
This gives your loved one an opportunity to vent and work through their emotions in a more healthy way.
Focus on what they can do. Your loved ones can get discouraged because of all the things they can no longer do that they used to enjoy. “There are still many things you can do to enhance the quality of life of your loved one,” said Parks.
If your loved one enjoys a story, get large print or audiobooks from your local library to read or listen to together.
Go out to lunch or to special community events. If you need extra help with a loved one to be able to do that, ask another family member or friend to come along.
Plan a day trip, like a drive to see fall foliage or the elk at Benezette.
Help your loved one use a computer to email friends or follow family on Facebook.
Create a journal together or a photo collage of their life.
Take care of you. “You can’t provide comforting care if you are neglecting caring for yourself,” said Parks.
Talk to the local Area Agency on Aging about their resources and programs that can help caregivers and older adults.
Consider utilizing respite stays in a personal community for your loved one. Respite care is a short term stay. It might be just for a weekend, a couple weeks or over the winter.
“We offer respite stays at all of our personal care homes,” said Parks. “They are very helpful to caregivers. It give them a short break to recharge, perhaps to go on vacation with family, take care of other pressing needs in their life or recuperate from surgery or illness.”
For more information about comfort care and tips for caregivers, call In Home Solutions at 814-849-5913, toll-free at 1-800-972-9363 or visit www.wrc.org.
In Home Solutions is an agency of WRC Senior Services, which has been providing care and services for older adults for 125 years. ###