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Sharing Caregiving Responsibilities Between Relatives with the Help of Medical Alert Systems

January 30, 2015

Given the growing population of senior citizens today, it is no surprise that more and more families are turning to caregivers to ensure that their parents or older relatives are safe and secure. However, caring for an elderly person can be quite daunting even when the responsibility is shared with siblings and other members of the family. While the primary challenge is to get the senior citizen to accept help and support, there are many other challenges faced by caregivers.

Here are some simple tips on how sharing caregiving responsibilities between relatives can be planned to ensure that all parties are happy.

Challenges Faced by Caregivers
When it comes to discussing the topic of sharing caregiving responsibilities, it is important to first understand the various challenges you will face. As mentioned earlier, getting the elderly to accept support even from a family member can be quite daunting given the independent nature of the elderly. Add to this the fact that life as a caregiver can often leave no time for taking care of yourself, especially in cases where the elderly suffers from a serious disease. Principle caregivers often find it extremely difficult to manage their own families, jobs, children, and take care of the elderly – all at the same time.

Such circumstances often lead to frustration, which negatively impacts both the caregiver as well as the senior citizen. Apart from finding it truly difficult to manage, caregivers are often wrought with fear, anger, and guilt, largely due to their inability to handle the pressure. It is important to understand that nowadays, technological advances had made available useful alternatives that allow caregivers to take care of their elderly family members and still be able to care for the rest of the family, work, and other activities.

Problems Faced by Caregivers When Sharing Responsibilities
In most cases, not all members of the family stay in the same city or state. Given the large distance between family members, taking care of the elderly can become a major problem. The distance adds to the trauma for the elderly, as the person might have to keep relocating or shifting between relatives multiple times to ensure that one person does not get bogged down. On the other hand, where the families do not share caregiving responsibilities, the sole caregiver becomes extremely frustrated and faces all the challenges mentioned above alone.

Communication and Its Challenges Related to Caregiving for the Elderly
Communication between siblings or family members is extremely important in cases of caregiving for the elderly. However, the extent of communication often diminishes over time, with distant family members feeling left out and the actual caregivers becoming overburdened.

This is more common in cases where the seniors are unable to do things on their own and require assistance for almost every activity. The principle caregiver gets overwhelmed with handling not only the simple tasks of the elderly, but also managing the rest of the family, home, and work. Under these circumstances, chances are that when the other family members call, the principle caregiver does not have time to fully explain the situation.

Lack of communication between relatives often leads to emergency situations where one party decides and the other party blames. In such a case, the presence of a medical alert system for the convenience of all family members is definitely advantageous.

Advantages of Open Communication
When all family members are aware about the health status and daily needs of the senior citizen, the outcomes improve for everyone involved. Decision making, especially in serious cases, becomes extremely easy and less disruptive. It also becomes easy for the caregivers to overcome their feelings of frustration and guilt when they share responsibilities and burdens with one another.

Similarly, suggestions and opinions can be easily expressed and accepted. Most caregivers believe that the other family members do not have any right to express their opinion as they are not aware of the exact situation. However, with open communication, this is easily acceptable as all parties are aware and understanding.

Simple Ways for Sharing Caregiving Responsibilities
Where possible, sharing caregiving responsibilities by actively communicating with each other is important. Here are some other simple tips that can help enhance the quality of care given to the elderly when sharing caregiving responsibilities.
  • Always encourage family members to act as caregivers and never criticize them when it is not possible. Similarly, if one person cannot provide fulltime care giving assistance, it is important not to criticize him or her. Being aware of the exact situation before commenting or giving an opinion is always advisable.
  • Open communication between siblings and family members should be encouraged to ensure better care for the elderly. It becomes important to understand the needs and requirements of the elderly and take them into consideration before actually making any decisions.
  • The use of devices like medical alert systems is the perfect solution as it allows the elderly to reach out to family members during an emergency, while also giving them a sense of independence. These systems not only allow the elderly to get prompt medical care, but also give peace of mind to all those involved in their care.
With communication channels totally open between siblings and family members, taking care of the elderly can become less frustrating. Caregiving becomes a much easier job with the support of a medical alert system, especially in cases where senior citizens do not want to stay with their families and prefer to live independently instead.

Personal Response Corporation is America's trusted provider of senior medical alerts with over 20 years experience. With three products to choose from in personal emergency response systems, seniors can live independent lives and their families can avoid stress and rest easy knowing they'll be helped in a timely and fully prepared manner in the case of a medical emergency.

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