Aging can be scary. Unfortunately, we all go through the inescapable cycle of life. As we grow older, so do our parents. Watching your parents age can be heartbreaking. One day they will need your help, just as we needed theirs. Although taking care of aging parents comes with its challenges, it could be one of the most fulfilling and memorable experiences for a child.
Undoubtedly, there are many myths that surround how to care for an aging loved one.
As a caregiver, it’s crucial you understand these misconceptions, how to avoid them, and how to improve your loved one’s life, regardless of their age and limitations.
As a senior caregiver, I know how daunting caring for the elderly can be, especially when you’re new to elderly care.
Besides, there’s no instruction manual on how to care for your aging parents.
The good news is – We’ve got you covered. To make things easier for you, I’ve made a comprehensive list of top tips for taking care of the elderly.
Myth #1: Everyone ages in the same way.
Age is a natural and unpredictable phenomenon. No one is completely in control of his aging process. Regardless of how conscious we might be about our health - genetics, unexpected accidents, and certain conditions can affect how we age.
There is no blueprint on how age works or what your parents will need as they age.
This means you need to approach caregiving for the elderly with an open mind. You should always be on the lookout for Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, heart conditions, and osteoporosis that can affect even the healthiest person.
Believing everyone will age according to your plans can make senior care difficult. When you have a flexible mindset towards aging, you might be able to pinpoint the specific needs of each individual and provide better care for the elderly.
Myth #2: Home care is insanely expensive
One questionable myth many caregivers believe is home care is too expensive for the average home - This is far from the truth. In fact, home care is one of the cheapest options for taking care of the elderly.
According to a survey, caregivers discovered the average monthly cost for home care was about $4385 compared to the whopping $8517 for a private room at a nursing facility.
If you’re new to elderly care, home care is one option you can consider without breaking the bank. Although home care is not cheap, it is relatively affordable compared to other forms of elderly care. If you’ve ruled out taking care of the elderly at home, it’s time to reconsider.
Besides, with insurance coverage, home care can be surprisingly affordable.
Myth #3: It’s Embarrassing to Have to Ask for Caregiving Help.
Most times, caregiving can be draining. Between work, kids, and traffic, it isn’t uncommon to see yourself feeling burnt out.
One unusual myth most family caregivers believe is asking for help is a sign of weakness.
They tend to feel guilt or a sense of failing their loved ones.
On the contrary, asking for help is one of the bravest things you could do, especially when you’re taking care of people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
You must accept your limits and know when to reach out for help. Many dementia caregivers reveal signs of stress, anxiety, and depression while taking care of their patients.
In fact, most family caregivers sacrifice sleep, social life, exercise, and their health to take care of their aging parents. This can prove counterproductive since you need a healthy mind to take care of the elderly.
One piece of advice for caregivers is to consider In-home care. Home care is an efficient, affordable alternative that’ll provide your parents with the support they need while giving you some time to take care of your health.
Myth #4 – Brain Power reduces with age
Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and stroke are various conditions that can cause short- and long-term memory loss in older adults. However, the myth that most elderly people are “senile” is entirely false. In fact, many aging parents live their lives cognitively intact. Thinking every brain reduces with age may come off rude and condescending.
Although some memory conditions are common as we grow older, only 7% of adults aged 60 and older have dementia. Brainpower does not necessarily reduce with age. Some recent studies show that older brains outperform younger brains in certain tasks involving judgment - We call this Wisdom.
The good news is - Most cases of memory loss are treatable - They are usually caused by sleep problems, nutritional deficiencies, depression, and side effects of certain medications.
Senior Care tip: Providing mental exercises, regular exercise, and social interactions can help strengthen and sharpen the brain against degenerative conditions.
Myth #5: Your Caregiving ends when your aging parent moves to a care facility.
According to a 2021 survey, most aging parents opted to have care in their own homes. But often, circumstances can call for the need of an elderly care facility, especially for parents with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
However, moving your aging parent to a nursing home doesn’t mean your job as a caregiver is complete — far from it! As a caregiver, you are just as responsible for helping your aging parents move in and adjusting to life in a new environment.
Top tip: One crucial tip for caring for dementia patients is to visit them often. They need the social interaction of a loved one, and they get solace knowing they are loved, safe, healthy, and doing well.
Myth #6: Caring for aging parents is just hard work.
Undeniably, caregiving can be overwhelming. But one myth most people believe is taking care of aging parents is just work. On the contrary, caring for the elderly can give immense emotional rewards. Just as your parent wiped your butt, you wipe theirs. There’s so much satisfaction knowing you can return the support they once provided you.
Besides, caring for your aging parents can help you develop a meaningful connection, even as they reach the final years of their lives.