If you provide caregiving to an aging parent or friend, you’re not alone: a 2015 study by AARP and the National Alliance For Caregiving found that approximately 34.2 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the 12 months prior to the study.
Geriatrics Expert Jennifer Fitzpatrick has just released a new book called “Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One.” It offers suggestions and tips on how to handle the stress that often accompanies caregiving.
Fitzpatrick encourages caregivers to never try to care for a loved one alone. The weight of that burden is much too heavy for one person to endure alone. It is vital that you enlist the help of a team. Find friends, family and other loved ones who are available to help.
Wondering if an aging adult in your life needs some extra care? Fitzpatrick says some warning signs include when a loved one stops taking medicine, you find considerably old or spoiled food in the refrigerator, uncommon emotional behavior, and forgetfulness.
The first step at providing care is to bring up the topic, which in itself can be stressful. Often times aging adults will not admit they need help and be resistant to your help. But Fitzpatrick says it’s important to keep pushing ahead – and realize it may takes months for your help to fully accepted and appreciated. And always remember you’re dealing with a grownup and not a child.