Being a caregiver can feel a lot like being a lone ranger. We know other caregivers are "out there," but our day-to-day lives don't allow us to meet with others who are facing the same challenges we face. Many caregivers go online to search for other caregivers to light their path.Having access to these insights can make a big difference, since research shows that caregivers manage better if they feel confident that about handling the daily hassles of caregiving. A 2016 University of Pittsburgh study that drew from the experiences of 91 caregiving families shows that caregivers with a greater sense of self-efficacy (the belief that you can handle a situation) were less likely to be depressed. While you know better than anyone the specific problems you and your loved one must address, you can still learn a lot from other caregivers and experts.
Luckily, more and more caregivers today are sharing their own experiences and insights via blogs. These sites not only provide useful tips and techniques, they also allow you to take part in an online community and social support system – which is especially beneficial if you and your loved one are isolated. If you have access to a computer or smartphone, you can easily reach out to others through caregivers’ blogs. Also, you can often ask the bloggers or readers questions directly through the comments sections or via direct email.What do the best blogs have in common? They remind us we're not alone. They give us a mirror, and place to go to, a pal who has dealt with some of the same fears and frustrations we have.
The best blogs remind us why we do what we do. They remind us to take a minute. That it's OK, we're OK. The best blogs invite us to tag along.We put together a list of 12 of the best blogs out there to help family caregivers in their own caregiving journeys. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to start blogging about your own caregiving experience!While forgetfulness may be common among the elderly, memory loss is not part of the aging process. Our brains can create new brain cells at any age, so don’t assume your senior loved one’s sudden inability to recall key information is trivial.And while there may be no surefire way to tell the difference between mere forgetfulness or dementia without clinical tests, there are signs that things aren’t normal. It is imperative to not ignore these signs:Unexplainable Scratches or Dents on Our Loved One’s CarTelling a parent it's time to give up the car keys is incredibly difficult. Role reversal is hard and uncomfortable. But if you start noticing scratches or dents on your loved one’s car, especially ones he or she can’t explain, you need to discuss assistance as soon as possible.Not just for parent’s safety, but for other drivers on the road as well. Your intervention could make the difference for them too, so be diligent if your confidence in your loved one's driving ability is waning, and warning signs, like damage to the car, start appearing.
Lack of HygieneIs your senior loved one wearing the same outfit for days at a time? Have you noticed a decline in appearance, or perhaps your loved one is getting a bit odorous?Does your loved one look sick? Has he or she lost significant weight?Signs of noticeable weight loss or unsanitary conditions shouldn't be dismissed. It’s not enough to just clean and feed this person. If your loved one forgets to do things like shower, change clothes or eat, it’s time to have a conversation about assistance going forward.Bruises, Cuts or ScrapesA fall is arguably the most serious sign you can encounter that your loved needs help at home. Per the National Council on Aging (NCOA), falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older. Worse, the risk of falls only increases with age. At age 80, over half of seniors fall annually.If you start seeing bruises or abrasions on your senior loved one, you need to ask him or her how it happened and immediately do whatever is necessary to prevent future falls.
A notable benefit of professional care providers is that many are trained or certified in fall prevention, and can quickly fall-proof your loved one’s home to ensure he or she remains safe.For more information on fall-proofing your loved one’s home, click here.Irritability or AggressionAggression may be a side effect of dementia. Even if your senior loved one has always had a temper, it’s important to take note of aggressive behavior.Repeated aggression or hostility will take its toll on family caregivers. Caregiver burnout is not only a threat to the family caregiver, but it can unintentionally place a care recipient in danger. If your loved one’s attitude becomes too aggressive, it may be worth considering a trained professional who has experience working with similar care recipients.
Lapse in Home MaintenanceWondering when the last time the lawn was cut?
Noticing the inside of the house hasn’t been mopped or vacuumed in a long time? Are things left out of place way more than usual?Don't write off this behavior as laziness, especially if your loved one has traditionally been a clean and organized person. The unkempt home could signal more significant problems that shouldn't be ignored. And it's not enough to just help get the house in shape. Your loved one may be reaching a state of dependency, and the condition of the house can be indicative of that. Get more details on Care24