What to Look For When Changes are Happening
Your loved one may be showing warning signs that could suggest they need more care and support. If you know what the signs are you might be able to do something before there is a crisis. Identifying Changes is a good list of things to watch for.
Some loved ones may be scared, angry, sad, or embarrassed by how their health or aging is affecting them, and they may be good at covering it up when they notice these changes. They may not want to talk, making it hard to bring up the subject with them.
Your loved one may give different family members different bits of information about how they’re doing. Getting together to talk can help piece things together so everyone is on the same page when it comes to planning for changes in care.
When you’re thinking about possible changes, it’s important to keep in mind the dignity of your loved one. One way to do that is to keep them involved in making decisions about things that affect them. For example, it’s important to talk about updating any legal and financial documents that will affect future health and well-being. For more information about finances and legal matters, click here.
The Vancouver Island Health Authority has created a list of Age-Related Changes; the language used is medical but you may find the information useful.
If your loved one doesn’t have a diagnosed medical condition but you see them becoming more vulnerable, you may want to look at our section on frailty.
You are a very important part of all of this. 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 having to step up more?
- Are you beginning to feel stressed and overwhelmed?
- Are you worried about the future?
- Are you unsure of what to do or where to go next?
It’s important for you to protect your mental and physical health when giving care to your loved one. Now is the time to:
- make decisions about care, either on your own or together with others;
- define your boundaries; and,
- set limits on your caregiving.
If you are unsure what to do next, 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've selected a few for you below.
- 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