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Ways to strike a balance between caregiving and enabling seniors

Becoming a caregiver isn’t always very easy. Caring for others comes with its own unique set of challenges. It doesn’t matter if you’re caring for a loved one or for a client, it’s important to know how to manage a smooth balance with them. Balancing between caregiving and enabling is important. 

Seniors who don’t retain some of their independence may fall despondent and may lose aspects of themselves that they need to retain to live the rest of their lives happily and healthy. But how do you strike a balance between caregiving and enabling seniors?

Encourage Independence

First and foremost, independence should always be considered before help is given. Of course, there are situations where this isn’t true, such as situations where independence could cause serious harm. 

A good example of this is allowing an unstable senior with muscle weakness to climb on a ladder to retrieve their old Christmas decoration tote. In a case like this, it’s probably best to help before encouraging them to do things on their own.

However, there are plenty of other situations where independence should be encouraged first, such as simple tasks like collecting the mail, helping to wash dishes, certain hygiene tasks and more. Evaluate your senior’s level of ability and react accordingly to preserve independence without putting the senior in great risk or danger.

Learn Plenty

Perhaps one of the best ways to strike a balance between caregiving and enabling is to learn as much as you possibly can about caregiving. Caring for someone is no small task, and it’s important that you learn as much as you possibly can to help make your job easier and also more effective.

Consider taking some home care courses to help you gain extra knowledge on caregiving. Courses like this will help you understand all you need to know about how to become an excellent caregiver. This type of course will also give you the tools you need to help your seniors receive care without stripping them of their independence and their individuality.

Manage Your Availability

One mistake that many caregivers tend to make is becoming too available to the person that they’re caring for. For some seniors, this becomes an easy and preferred option. Too often do older citizens retire from life, and they begin to allow caregivers to do just about everything for them. 

Some even begin to refuse to do basic tasks by themselves. This is a slippery slope and should be avoided whenever possible. Therefore, be careful to limit your availability so that your senior doesn’t become hyper-dependent on you.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have to show up daily (if you’re supposed to), but it does mean that you don’t have to do extra, within reason. It also means exercising your right to say no and refusing to do tasks that you’re certain your seniors can safely and effectively do themselves. By doing this early and staying persistent, your seniors will fare better throughout your time caring for them.

Socialize With Others

Too often do seniors become reclusive, relying too heavily on interacting with only their caregiver. Encourage your senior to come with you to adult day groups or to watch and do things that they may enjoy. 

social loafing at work
Ways to strike a balance between caregiving and enabling seniors 2

This gets them outside and allows them to meet like-minded individuals. Much like socializing a young child, seniors sometimes also need an extra push to be social with others.

Consider gently urging your senior to do these things without you, or even set up for friends they’ve met to come and visit, encouraging your senior to maintain these friendships. 

By keeping active, they will retain some of who they are while getting out and having fun. You may also wish to encourage exercise, which keeps your senior’s body and mind in good shape!

There are many ways to strike a balance between caregiving and enabling seniors. Each senior is different, and it’s important to learn what your senior responds to and what they don’t. Consider taking courses or attending groups to help you learn new ways to access and guide your senior. Remain patient and understanding, aging isn’t easy. Most of all, try to enjoy your time with your senior, as you just may miss them someday.

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