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For nearly four years now I have been in charge of caring for my grandfather. He is an amazing man that will be 92 years old next month. Every year there's some kind of decline in his health which is sad to see. I love this man SO much and it hurts me to see him as a shadow of his former self. Aging can be cruel.
I often don't think of myself as a caregiver but that's what I am. I'm just trying to help this man I love out the best I can. Just like he did for my grandmother, that stunning woman in the photo above, who passed away ten years ago. I can't believe it has been that long 🙁 . She had Alzheimer's and he took care of her with his whole heart.
I hope I can measure up.
Caregiving, much like parenting, is a roller coaster ride. There are so many ups and downs, sudden turn and drops all while a feeling of nausea is looming over you. You are just trying to stay afloat and keep your sanity. It's HARD! However, staying in control and avoiding caregiver burnout can be avoided with these tips:
It's okay to have a positive out look (all the better if you do) but it has to be within the constraints of the situation you are dealing with. This means not expecting too much so you don't set yourself up for disappointment. My grandfather's memory has been declining over the past several months, it is not realistic for me to expect him to remember something I said a couple hours ago.
If grandma has adult incontinence (AI), is it realistic to get mad that you have to wash her bedding every day?
No, of course not!
Instead of getting mad you should be trying to find a way to make the situation better. In this case, TENA® Overnight Underwear and TENA® Overnight Pads from Walmart are a great idea!
Their great absorbency and protection will remedy your monotonous sheet washing conundrum. Perfect if she has moderate to heavy bladder leakage.
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My grandfather has had some bouts of AI and loves his TENA® products. He doesn't have to embarrassingly come to me with a handful of soiled clothing, asking me to wash them. They keep everything dry and he can just confidently toss them in the trash with his dignity intact.
Understand Your Caregiving Duties
Caregiving is WAY different than babysitting. Typically, you are dealing with a family member who has impairments due to old age and is ill or disabled and needs a lot of help doing daily activities. This means you have a lot of duties depending on your particular situation. Know what they are and how your loved one likes things done.
I've found over the years, my grandfather is very picky about certain things. For example, certain items have to be certain brands (not any old toothpaste, shaving cream, or aftershave will do) and there is an art to how his bed should be made. Learn these things in the beginning. Everyone will be happier if you do.
Learn About Their Condition
Most likely you will be going to a lot of doctors appointments. While you are there soak up all the information you can about what's affecting your loved one and how you can help.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. The more you know about why your loved one does what they do and why they feel how they feel, only helps you understand how to care for them better. The more you understand the less frustrated you will be.
Set Achievable Goals
You have a lot on your plate caregiving for another person. Dealing with their household and occupational duties to things like medication management, transportation, and medical needs while competing with your own life is hard. If you aren't careful about prioritizing, scheduling, and setting timers while keeping everything attainable soon you won't know which way is up.
Calendars, reminders, and alarms are my friends!
Make sure any daily, weekly, or monthly goals you set can actually be reached. Don't overwhelm yourself with too many “extras” so if something doesn't get done right away it's nothing to stress about. Slow down and think about what is most important and needs to be done. It's ok if you can't do something. It can be done later if you prioritized properly to start.
You are dealing with a very challenging situation that can leave anyone stressed, irritable, and maybe even a little bit resentful – AND that's okay! You are human. What you don't want to do is take it out on your loved one.
Finding a person or support group you can lean on is essential. If you are taking care of a parent and have siblings maybe split up the duties to lighten the load.
My husband is my pillar.
Even just talking to someone outside of the situation about your feelings can relieve a lot of pressure especially if they understand what you are going through. If you don't have any personal connections to lean on, look into local or online groups for caregivers. They'll be able to connect with you on a whole other level.
Stay Healthy and Positive
Above all else take care of yourself and your needs too! Just like in parenting, self-care is a MUST. You do no one any good if you are running on empty and are so miserable you don't want to do anything. Even if it is only 15 minutes a day make it a goal to do something for YOU and prioritize it. Increase the time when allowed, you're worth focusing on!
For me, this usually means taking a walk with my husband, enjoying a cocktail, and getting up an hour earlier than everyone else to get in things that are important to me.
Grandma isn't alone in her AI struggles, she has you and TENA® Intimates™ Overnight Pads and Underwear for women to help her live life to the fullest. Help her feel more confident and buy some today!
Stay safe and have a fabulous week!!
This was a good read and great tips. It is challenging when caring for the aged, especially family when you weren’t “ready” or hadn’t thought about it much. I experienced this with my father.
I know what you mean, Natasha. Luckily, I was gradually introduced and not just thrown into caregiving all of a sudden.
Mommy Rockin' In Style
I will definitely share this to my caregiver friends. This is really a big help. Thanks for sharing!
Please do share. It isn’t an easy task.
i have not been a full time care giver. was there to help my MIL when she broke her leg; she needed a lot of assistance since she could not move about at all in the beginning weeks
Thank was nice of you to help your MIL when she needed you. I’m sure she appreciated it.
These are great tips! I took note because my mom is now in her 60s and has started to complain a lot about her health. I have to prepare myself for when she already needs me to physically care for her.
I understand that. My father is in his 60s too but he doesn’t have too much to complain about yet, thankfully.
It is so hard to be a carer and to do it well, every single day. Your tips are both realistic and useful and honest too.
Thanks so much! It is a daily thing but I’ve been doing it for 4 years now so I’m pretty used to it.
One day I would have to do this for my mother. I am sure that your grandfather loves you dearly too but just aren’t able to say it.
I hope that it is a long time before you have to be a caregiver.
These are great tips to keep yourself healthy as you take care of another. After all, you cannot be effective or efficient if you are not 100% yourself. Agree totally – stay healthy and positive in body, mind and spirit will allow you to be present for another. <3
Yes, it does help me through the hard times. I might breakdown otherwise.
This reminds me of my experience when I had to be my mother-in-law’s caregiver. She was bed ridden for a month before she passed away. I had to do all the things she can no longer do. And it really helped me to somehow took short walks outside with my husband when we had the leisure of time to do so. It helped to ease the burnout.
I’m sorry to hear about your MIL. I’m sure she appreciated everything you did for her!
I cannot really fathrom what it is like to be a caregiver to someone. I imagine that the burnout is very bad.
It’s not as bad as you think, especially if you get in before things are really down hill.
My husband and I have been caring for his parents for about 15 years now. The last five have been much more challenging and at times overwhelming. But I wouldn’t change a thing.
That is SO nice of you both! How old are they?
I can imagine being a caregiver can be very difficult at times. This was such a great read to aid people who are going through that process.
It is hard but very worth it.
These are great ideas. As a caregiver, you spend so much time worrying about others!
That’s very true! We have def had our scary moments.
How great of you to give your time like this. The work you are doing is amazing.
Thank you! My mother is passed away and she was an only child as was I and my grandfather. I guess it was destiny.
You definitely have a perfect attitude for a job like this one. Staying optimistic is a key, in any profession.
I wish I was always optimistic but my pessimistic side likes to visit every once in a while too
A caregiver is a stressful job. My father-in-law has Parkinsons and has to wear adult diapers.
Do you take care of your FIL? My grandfather has started mainly using adult diapers too.
These are some great tips, I can only imagine how hard it is to be a caregiver and all the heart ache you go through.
It is very hard at times. There is a lot to deal with but I am glad I can be here since my mother can’t be.
Dee at My Dee Dee's Diary
I can really agree with this alot because my dad had to be a caregiver to his dad for a while and it was hard at times. Thank you for the tips
This was a nice post. These are all good things to know. Being realistic can be a good thing! Thanks for sharing.
Wonderful advice! I am a caregiver myself and it can be really stressful! Having the right support is key.
Yes, caregiving isn’t the easiest thing ever but I am glad I can be there for him.
This was very good to know! Staying positive is definitely important.
It can be hard to stay positive sometimes but you just have to push through.
I am a caregiver and have been for some time. Even with the passing of my father late last year I am fortunate to have my mother still with us. There are number of us but only a few who live in the area and the caregiving is usually by the three of us until the others are able to come into town.
I’m glad you have a team to work with! I just have my husband since my mother is gone and everyone was an only child.