Caregiving: What does it mean to have a culture of caring?
Essentially, it means you are concerned about the welfare and well-being of somebody else. Just because this is a family member, even a close family member, doesn’t mean that we don’t have to be concerned about such things. For an aging senior, for example, proper caregiving is critical, especially when they are dealing with chronic health issues, diminishing strength, are recovering from major surgery or a serious medical emergency, or something else.
Unfortunately, far too often, especially in this country, we have a tendency to react. Being reactive rather than proactive can lead to a lot of mistakes.
One of the biggest mistakes many families make when a senior in their life requires some type of care and support is assuming they can do it themselves. Most adult Americans have no idea what it truly takes to care for an aging parent, grandparent, or other loved one.
These family caregivers can quickly become overwhelmed.
In other cultures around the world, it’s not just the nuclear family that is still intact, but also the extended one. That means grandparents, great grandparents, and even aunts and uncles all live either in the same household or in a close-knit community.
Looking after one another becomes almost automatic. In our culture, we barely have the nuclear family holding together. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, and others could be spread out across the country or even around the world.
That means when an aging individual in the family requires some type of care, the rest of the family might look to the person who lives closest to them. It might be an adult child, cousin, or even an aging spouse.
Caregiving: How do we change this culture of care?
While the family is certainly often more than willing to help however it can, the best option is always to look at all senior care possibilities. The most beneficial and the one more seniors prefer is home care. But it’s not the only one.
If we want to change this culture of care, to shift it from inexperienced and overwhelmed family members, we need to be more informed and educated about the various senior care providers and options out there.
Assisted living, nursing home care, independent living communities, and home health providers are all valuable caregiving assets that can protect our aging seniors, help them maintain a higher quality of life, and keep families from avoiding the potentially destructive impact of stress that comes along with family care.