Caregiving for Family Members: Tips for Handling Age-Related Conflicts
In this aging population, families are dealing with more issues regarding the care and conduct of their elderly loved ones. Issues such as looking after an older parent or making end-of-life decisions for a dying relative can cause significant stress amongst families.
Aging and dying is a natural process for every living being on earth. However, without open communication, families may struggle to respond to their loved ones' needs in a considerate manner.
Tensions may also arise among family members when emotional stress isn't adequately addressed. If one or more of your family members are of old age or in palliative care, it helps to discuss any concerns or conflicts around aging-related issues with your family. In this article, we'll cover common issues family caretakers face, how families can work together, and key areas to address when being a caretaker for a family member.
The Elderly Population is Growing, and Younger Generations Aren't Prepared
Population projections depict an increasingly aging society. According to Time, the number of older adults per 100 working-age people will triple by 2050.
While increased life expectancy is something to be celebrated, it does present implications for future generations. Within the family dynamic, there is the potential for aging-related relationship issues.
Because of the increasing aging population, many families are unaware and unprepared for the negative physical and mental health effects of family caregiving. The list of caregiving responsibilities can be overwhelming. Some of these include:
- Providing proper care
- Scheduling appointments
- Tracking and staying on top of health challenges
- And even making funeral arrangements
This list is just a small slice of the roles and responsibilities family caregivers face. All of which can take a toll if one is not prepared to become a family caregiver.
Suppose families fail to communicate and make the proper preparations in the care of their loved ones. In that case, older people living in vulnerable situations may be at risk. There's also the increased likelihood of family quarrels over the wishes and rights of the elderly relative.
Families must prepare themselves to have difficult conversations. This is the only way to maintain peaceful family co-existence while respecting older member's safety and wellbeing. This means being well-prepared for end-of-life discussions and decisions.
Family Caregiver Tips
A family's willingness to be there for their elderly loved one(s) is half the battle. Emotional support for your aging relative is paramount, and treating them as equal can help feelings of isolation.
Families can meet and discuss their expectations when it comes to care and life insurance. If you are worried about money or have an unstable income, universal life insurance could be a good option. You may also want to look into family caregiver assistance which can take some of the pressures off of you, both financially and emotionally.
You will also need to discuss end-of-life arrangements and make sure you have a budget saved for a funeral. It's crucial families respect their relative's personal wishes and decisions while ensuring they are financially prepared.
Each individual's role is to avoid family stress by sharing the load and making practical suggestions so that one person isn't holding the majority of the responsibility. Here are some steps that families can take to support their aging relatives and provide efficient family care giving:
- Work out a timetable and help with daily tasks and living activities, including shopping, transportation, finances, cleaning, and cooking.
- Bring up concerns and questions to healthcare providers
- Determine the best living arrangements and plan for future care arrangements should the relative need further living assistance.
- Plan a funeral and pre-arranging estate and financial planning.
- Consider family counseling or an alternative dispute resolution service for older people and their families.
Statistics Show Conflict in Aging Relationships is Common
According to a recent survey, 58% of families in aging relationships experience conflict, which can come in the form of abuse and violence, disrespectful behavior, poor communication, and estrangement.
Generational gaps can indeed present a significant challenge. Yet, families must continue to find ways to support each other and explore ways to improve the safety, wellbeing, and health of the aging person.
Awareness is Crucial
Taking care of elderly parents or relatives is rewarding but can come with its challenges. As society experiences an increasingly aging population, more people need to be aware of how to care for their elderly effectively.
There's a variety of self-care measures caretakers can take to protect their own mental health and that of their elderly relatives. Suppose families cannot come to a resolution when planning the care of their elderly. In that case, they should seek counseling from an experienced mediator.
Families can benefit from practical strategies to keep their caregiving manageable and to protect the wellbeing of the one being cared for.
About Carex Health Brands
Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.
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