One of the most common reasons for elder abuse is because family members and relative caregivers become stressed, frustrated, and overwhelmed while caring for their loved ones. They may begin to feel resentful of how much time it takes to care for another person. They may have other duties and obligations, such as taking care of their spouse or children, working or running a business, handling household duties, and more. They may even feel like their loved one’s condition is a reminder of their own mortality.
The truth is, caring for anyone can be exhausting, and caring for the elderly – no matter how deeply you love them – requires stamina, patience, and time. If you believe that your family member or loved one needs more help than you can give, or if you are experiencing severe burnout from taking care of your loved one as well as dealing with other duties and obligations that you have, it may be time to seek and find other options for your elderly relative.
5 signs that an elderly relative needs more help than you can give
Although you may not want to admit it, you may soon start to realize that your elderly relative needs more help than what you can give. You may be putting forth your best effort to multitask and handle everyone’s needs, but you may begin to accept the fact that your elderly loved one deserves more one-on-one and individualized attention and care than they are currently receiving. Here are five signs that may indicate that it is time to seek more help for your elderly relative as soon as possible:
- Your mental health is declining: While it is easy to get caught up in your elderly loved one and how they are feeling, you must also take the time to understand and find out how you feel. If you start to feel overly stressed, frustrated, or depressed, this is one of the first signs that it may be time to find your loved one more care than you can provide. You cannot lose your entire self by caring for your elderly loved one. It is normal to feel guilty and defeated when you realize this, but it will benefit you and your elderly relative in the long run. In addition, it may also prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and heated in the moment, resulting in you doing something that you may regret for the rest of your life.
- You believe that their safety is in jeopardy: If you notice that your loved one is getting hurt more often, this may be a telltale sign that they need more help than you can give. For example, you may not be able to be by their side every waking moment, or you may forget to do small things, such as make their coffee for them every morning, make sure the bathmat is properly in place before they get in the shower, or even cut their favorite vegetables up for them for lunch. As a result, they may decide to make their own coffee and burn themselves, get in the shower and fall, or even cut their own vegetables and slice their finger. This may be traumatizing to you and your children, but your loved one experiencing more accidents and injuries is a clear sign that it is time to seek assistance for your loved one.
- They are becoming more aggressive with you or other family members: When elderly loved ones become aggressive with you or other family members, it is time to seek help. Certain medical conditions, especially dementia, can affect an elderly loved one’s moods and behaviors. Lashing out may be their way of saying they’re scared or angry or frustrated. Unless you are a qualified nurse or specialist, it’s easy to misinterpret these signs.
- They are starting to wander around and get lost: Most people know that it is not unusual for elderly individuals to wander around. Their memory may not be good, and they may decide to go for a walk around the block and forget how to get back. They may go to someone’s home, claiming that it is their own and demanding that the person lets them inside. This can become a very bad situation as the individual may decide to call law enforcement to deescalate the situation. If this is the case for you, it is likely time to find someone who can give their full attention to your loved one and ensure that a situation like this does not arise.
- They may be developing new health problems: You may begin to notice that your loved one looks thinner, weaker, or more frail than usual. This may be a big indication that they are developing new health problems that need more in-depth focus and concentration. Instead of trying to stretch yourself even more to care for their needs, it may be a good idea to look into other alternatives to care for them.
What should I do if I’m experiencing burnout and need more help caring for my elderly family member?
You have a variety of options and alternatives if you are experiencing burnout and need more help caring for an elderly relative, such as:
- Hiring a professional caregiver/ home health aide to come to yours or your elderly family member’s home
- Choosing an assisted living facility for your elderly relative to live
- Finding a nursing home facility that you can trust
- Leaning on other family members and dividing the work of looking after your elderly relative
- Putting your elderly loved one in an adult daycare center or program for a few hours per day/ week
- Asking if a family member, neighbor, or friend can give you the night off from caring for your elderly relative every once in awhile
- Attending counseling or psychology appointments to discuss your feelings and hardships through the relative caregiving process
- Joining support groups and finding resources to help you with your elderly family member
- Allowing family members and loved ones to help you when you are feeling down
If you or someone you know is a victim of elder abuse, the elder abuse attorneys at Garcia & Artigliere are here to assist you. Our team is available to answer any of your questions and concerns as well as to guide you through the legal process if you are ready to file an elder abuse claim. Contact our firm to schedule your free and confidential case review today. We can be found in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Louisville, Phoenix, and New Orleans.
Stephen M. Garcia represents victims of elder and nursing home abuse and is known as one of the leading civil litigators in the country. He is Senior Partner at Garcia & Artigliere, where the firm’s practice is focused on elder abuse, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death of the elderly.
Find out more about Stephen M. Garcia