Georgiana Goodson, Community Relations Manager for Senior Helpers Lakeland joined me to discuss maintaining a sense of normalcy in a caregiving situation. Georgiana dropped a lot of great insight during our conversation. Click the player above to listen in or head over to our YouTube channel to watch the episode.
What is Normal
A Caregiver’s life is anything but normal. When we are caring for an aging loved one. It’s very easy to let the chaos of the day take over. Ultimately, we let the things that bring us pleasure and joy fall by the wayside. The same is true for those receiving care. Sometimes this happens so gradually as needs increase that we don’t even realize what has happened. What is “normal,” anyway? “Normal” looks different for everyone. Every family dynamic is unique and so are the changes families experience while caregiving.
A New Normal
We could write a book about changes a family experiences when an aging loved one needs care. We often talk about the changes a caregiver must make when taking on the task of caring for someone. But the truth is that the entire family changes in one way or another.
Amid the changes, it’s easy to forget that the person that you’re caring for has, perhaps, lost almost every bit of normal they know. Their independence, their way of doing things, their privacy, their favorite routines, and more. As they require more help, these pieces of life tend to be stripped away. Not because we don’t want to preserve them, but because it’s hard to balance it all. The key to creating a new normal for your loved ones is keeping them engaged.
Engagement is Key
Helping your loved ones to enjoy the things they have always enjoyed (with modification if necessary) will contribute to a better quality of life. Take it a step further and encourage them to find new interests and activities to keep them engaged and enriched. There is no end to the possible activities to include, but some examples include:
Morning coffee on the porch
Reading aloud together
Listening to nostalgic music
Window shopping and lunch
Making arts & Crafts
You get the idea. Get creative and make your own list! The bottom line is to remember to enjoy life for as long as possible.
Liz Craven, along with her husband Wes, owns Pro-Ad Media, publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide, serving the local community for over 28 years. Liz lives in Lakeland and is very active in the local community, specifically in the area of aging. Liz serves on a number of local boards and committees including the Lakeland Vision and Age Friendly Lakeland.