• My old father was swinging chandelier, to protect the dignity of the aging love

  • Often, the focus of the person providing the direct care is on protecting their loved one, and enhancing their dignity and self-esteem. As their loved ones behavior becomes unpredictable and care needs increase, it is sometimes easier to avoid telling anyone, or going out in public, such as church or visiting with friends.

    The Challenge - The person providing the direct care has difficultly sharing with family and friends the actual behaviors and physical care needs of their loved one, resulting in caregiver isolation.

    It can be over whelming and sometimes embarrassing for the caregiver to share the details of the loved ones condition or behavior with family members, neighbors or people at church. Many family members only see what is really happening when they get together for special occasions and holidays.

    The Solution - Being aware of your loved ones condition and behavior is essential in helping the direct caregiver.

    1. The family may want to schedule regular visits on a rotating schedule, so they can see their loved ones behavior first hand.

    * Sometimes each family member sees things in a little different way, and if they each visit at different times they can get together later to share their views of the situation.My old father was swinging chandelier, to protect the dignity of the aging love

    * The direct caregiver may react differently to each family member; being more open with some.

    2. The direct caregiver and/or other family members may want to join a support group. It is sometimes easier to discuss the situation with others who are in similar situations as yours.

    3. Explore ways of protecting the dignity and self-esteem of your loved one:

    * Explain their condition and behavior openly to others before they see the person.

    * Accommodations can be made to make you and your loved one more comfortable in a public situation. For example, the Alzheimers' Association has cards that can be given to the server in a restaurant that explains your loved ones dementia and behavior.

    As you visit your aging loved ones, observe for changing care needs and behaviors. Have different family members or friends visit at different times of the day and evening. Stay the night. Provide opportunities for the direct caregiver to discuss the most challenging aspect of care. Talk with friends and family members about their observations. Develop ways to protect the dignity and self esteem of your loved one when inviting people in or when taking the loved one out.

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    released by Carol McGowan and Cindy StreekstraCarol McGowan RN and Cindy Streekstra RN are Caregiver Coaches and geriatric nurses who share a mission of caring for caregivers as part of a family unit. Their passion for caregivers has led them to create "The Caregiver Cottage", a virtual pl
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