What to Look For When Changes are Happening
Your loved one may be displaying warning signs that could suggest they need more care and support. Unless you know what to look for, these changes may go undetected until a crisis happens. Knowing the signs is key; this list, Identifying Changes, may be of help.
Some loved ones may be frightened, angry, sad or embarrassed by the effects of aging or the progression of their medical condition. They may be adept at “covering” when they notice changes in their abilities. As a result, they may be reluctant to talk about it and that makes it even harder to bring up the subject.
Sometimes, sharing observations with other family members who are involved can give a broader picture to the situation. Keep in mind that your loved one may confide different information to different family members. Sharing information and getting everyone on the same page is very helpful when trying to plan for changes in care.
When you are looking at making changes, it is of utmost importance to keep your loved one and their dignity at the centre of all discussions. Your loved one should be as actively involved as possible in making decisions about their own health and well-being. One very important area that needs to be addressed is creating or updating any legal and financial documents that will affect their future health and well-being. For more information about finances and legal matters, click here.
Click here to review an extensive list of Age-Related Changes as presented by the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Please note that the language used is very medical.
If your loved one doesn’t have a diagnosed medical condition but you see them becoming more vulnerable, you may want to consider the following section on frailty. Frailty is a diagnosis.
You are a very important part of this equation. How is the stress of seeing these changes in your loved one affecting you?
- Are you increasingly worried about your loved one’s ability to live safely at home?
- Are you needing to step up more?
- Are you beginning to feel stressed and overwhelmed?
- Are you worrying about the future? Is your involvement sustainable?
- Are you unsure of what to do or where to go next?
It serves no one’s best interest if you damage your mental or physical health in giving care to your loved one. So now is the time to make or collaborate on decisions about care, define your boundaries, and set limits on your caregiving. These are important things to think about at this time.
If you are unsure of how to proceed, please call Caregivers Nova Scotia. Our staff will be happy to talk with you about how much is too much.
There are many good resources on caregiver wellness. We have selected a few that may be of help to you:
- 5 Lessons on Setting Boundaries That Every Caregiver Must Learn
- How Caregiver Support Groups Can Help
- The Benefits of a Caregiver Support Group, CNS 2013 Fall/Winter Newsletter, p.6
- A complete list of Caregiver Support Groups across Nova Scotia from the CNS website