When “Let Me Help” Is Harming Your Loved One
“Here, let me help you with that.”
“Don’t overdo it now!”
“Maybe you should sit here and rest; I’ll take care of that.”
How often have we made suggestions such of these to older individuals, with the very best of intentions, of course? We want to do what we’re able to help our senior loved ones; to help them stay safe and to care for them in the same way they cared for us when we were growing up. And yet, there’s a concealed danger in trying to do too much for seniors and denying them the opportunity to do as much as possible for themselves – the risk of harming their self-esteem and sense of being needed by others.
Take, for example, an elderly gentleman who spent his entire life providing for his family, and now has entered into the beginning phase of Alzheimer’s disease. Since he has always self-identified as a provider, relying on another to provide for him can be incredibly tough and even feel demeaning. It’s important to help him preserve the sense of being needed by others, and there are plenty of ways to accomplish just that. Try these methods from the in-home caregiver experts at Home & Hearth Caregivers:
- Request advice. Being granted the chance to impart knowledge and wisdom is a great enhancement to a senior’s self-worth, and there’s certainly a lot we can learn from older loved ones. Find small ways throughout the day to ask the older person’s opinion on how to make a perfect batch of cookies, how to prevent the draft from coming in under the windowsill, how to comfort a cranky toddler, etc.
- Seek hands-on help. As in-home caregivers, it’s our job to help older adults with a variety of needs, but we also realize the significance of allowing seniors the opportunity to perform helpful duties as well. It doesn’t have to be a significant task to provide a feeling of purpose. Pay attention to the person’s cognitive and physical limitations, and ask for his or her help accordingly. For instance, someone who is in a wheelchair can sit at the table and help with cooking and baking related tasks, polish silverware, or sort tools in a toolbox.
- Verbally show your respect. While you might suspect the senior is aware of how you feel, it’s a wonderful feeling to be told how much we mean to one another. Make time to express particular ways the senior has helped you in some way and how much you value that help, from being taught to ride a bike or drive a car, to parenting skills, to the ability to paint or draw or carve wood. Be genuine in your kind words, and speak them often from your heart.
A skilled in-home agency, such as the Burr Ridge IL senior care providers, Home & Hearth Caregivers, is experienced in preserving the delicate balance between offering care for seniors and enhancing their sense of purpose and meaning. Contact us to learn more about our home care services or to set up a free in-home personalized assessment for your senior loved one.