family caregiving

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family caregiving in india?

Family caregiving is not a new concept in India. Taking care of family members at home was and still is the norm of the society throughout the country irrespective of people’s social status. As a society, we have always expected families to provide palliative care, emotional and financial support to our elderly parents and grandparents when they can no longer function independently.

what is family caregiving?

Family caregiving is nothing more than a family member, most probably one of the children, taking the responsibility of caring for elderly parents. The caregiving role involves assistance with daily activities, providing direct care to the care recipient, assistance with mobility, provision of emotional and social support and health and medical care.              

The role of a family caregiver constantly changes depending upon the health and mental condition of the care recipient. As such a caregiver’s role and responsibility can change from minor observatory role to increased intensity and complexity, making family caregiving an intensive, complex and long-lasting process, where the caregiver rarely receives adequate preparation for their role as family caregivers.

However, with the right help and support, you can be an effective and loving family caregiver, without having to sacrifice yourself in the process. So here are a few tips that can help make caregiving a rewarding and loving experience for both you and the care recipient.

  • Educate yourself – This is one of the most essential steps towards becoming an effective caregiver. You need to learn as much as possible about the elderly person’s health condition. This information would not only help you draw out the intensity of the care services needed but would also help avoid any frustration and stress regarding your role and responsibility.
  • Seek out help – If you are not the only child but have undertaken the responsibility of caregiving for your parents, don’t be afraid to seek out help from your siblings in areas where they can help like, hosting the parents for some time so you can have a break and relax from your responsibilities. Besides that, you can also seek community support from other caregivers. It is always soothing to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through.   
  • Trust your instincts – By this we mean that it is you who best know your parents, so trust your instincts while providing care to your parents. Do not ignore what doctors and other specialists advise but at the same time follow your gut and do what is best suited for your parents.
  • Encourage activity – If your parents do not have any mobility concerns and perfectly can pursue physical activities then encourage them to get involved in social and community activities. As a healthy body ensures a healthy mind and vice versa.
  • Encourage Independence – Just like encouraging activity you should also encourage independence among your parents especially if they are not suffering from any major physical or mental ailments. Acquaint them to new technologies and gadgets that can make them independent. This will not only make them feel like the same person they were 20 years back and provide a morale boost but, would make them less dependent upon you for everything and relieve you of some your responsibilities as a caregiver.
  • Connect with your loved one – Amazingly, something as simple as connecting with your ageing loved one can make so much difference to your capacity to care. Being calm and relaxed and spending some time connecting with the care recipient would not only boost your mood and reduce stress but would also have the same effect on the care recipient making the caregiving experience rewarding for both you and your loved one.  
  • Take care of yourself – As much as caring for your ageing parents is important, so is your wellbeing since you cannot serve from an empty vessel. Only when you are physically and mentally fit you can be an efficient caregiver to your parents.

Family caregivers play a key role in delaying and possibly preventing the need for senior home care services of older people. However, family caregivers may undergo considerable stress and exhaustion due to the intensity of caregiving responsibility. As such it always important for the family caregiver to stay connected with fellow caregivers and other family members to seek out reassurance and support when needed.

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