7 Tips for Handling Caregiving Challenges

If you are a caregiver for a loved one or family member, you may find these seven tips from professional caregivers helpful and instructive.

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7 Tips for Handling Caregiving Challenges

If you’re a family caregiver, chances are you will face difficult behavior and other challenges with your loved one, just as Carla Larson did with her client. Professional caregivers from Home Instead Senior Care shared their best advice for handling such challenges. Here are their tips:

Don’t make your loved one feel incapable. “Be considerate about things that may be embarrassing to them, like helping them in and out of a wheelchair.”—Jeannie

Be creative about engaging the mind and spirit as the body declines. “One woman I take care of likes crossword puzzles. I introduced her to Scrabble and play it with her. Each week, I ask her to solve a riddle and give clues for a couple of days. These brainteasers keep her involved and thinking, and they get her to laugh. I also use Bible stories to keep her mind working.”—Pearl

Helping them look good can help them feel good. “Washing their hair or giving them a trim can improve how they feel and see themselves. Update their clothes as they gain or lose weight.”—Theresa

Don’t take difficult behavior personally. “Replace your ego with compassion. If you have that, then you have a good grasp. Compassion, patience and understanding are the keys, and dementia requires even more of the understanding.”—Chris

Find small ways to help maintain their dignity. “I try to keep their homes organized. That is important for more reasons than one—giving them a clean, organized home also gives them their dignity and helps them feel as if they are important.”—Barbara

Listen and let them tell you what they need. “A lot of times seniors just need someone to listen to them. One gentleman would say, ‘Would you sit down and talk with me, pray with me?’ He would do the praying, and I would listen.”—Nancy

Be honest and positive. “I don’t offer deep philosophical discussions about dying when they bring it up, but I don’t try to avoid it either. I tell them, ‘Let’s just cherish the moment and live for now.’ I try to remain positive, and that gives them a measure of comfort.”—Robyn

Are you interested in a fulfilling job, working as a professional caregiver? Learn more at homeinstead.com/guideposts.

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