Elderly Mother and Daughter

If you have been a caregiver for your aging parents or loved ones, you are well aware of the multi-faceted nature of care that is required. There is no disputing that caring for our elderly loved ones is both a noble and enormous undertaking. The declining health that usually accompanies aging is not only difficult for the elderly, but also for those that have devoted themselves to caring for their needs.

If your caretaking responsibilities seem to be insurmountable and overwhelming, you are not alone. Consider lightening your load of responsibility by following these tips:

• Most communities have structured support organizations for elderly caregivers. They offer support groups and professional advice, as well as many other community elder care resources that may prove to be very helpful to you.

• Avoid caregivers' burnout. It is vitally important to you and your aging loved ones that you take time for yourself and your personal needs. Most caregivers have immediate family responsibilities and jobs in addition to their caretaking responsibilities. Allow yourself at least one day a week away from caretaking duties. Run errands, have lunch with friends, clean your house--whatever may serve as an outlet to take your mind off of caretaking responsibilities. As much as we love them, caring for an elderly love one is most always draining and demanding.

• Don't be afraid to ask for help from other family members. Involving other siblings or family members is not only helpful to you, but can also be good for your elderly loved ones. Many times, our loved ones feel guilty and concerned for the amount of time and energy we dedicate to them. Sharing the responsibilities may be a relief for everyone involved.

About Alzheimers

Alzhemers has become a very common condition among elderly individuals. This dreaded disease greatly diminishes the capacity for independent living and safety of our aging loved ones in their own homes.

As Alzheimer's progresses, the ability of the elderly to care for their own most basic needs such as bathing, hygeine, medication administration and meal preparation are greatly compromised. The may exhibit poor cognition, lack of coordination, reduced ability to communicate, among other symptoms. Unfortunately, this diminished capacity can make them vulnerable to hazards in their own home environment.

These symptoms may be very subtle in the beginning, but can escalate seemingly overnight. During the window of time in which our elderly loved ones are able to remain in their own home, they must be monitored regularly and should have access to a home medical alert device for immediate access to emergency assistance, if needed. This will not only keep them safe, but will also give the caregiver added peace of mind that their loved one will receive emergency care immediately, if needed.

It is also extremely important to consult with a medical professional in the case of dementia or Alzheimer's as there are medications that may be prescribed to help delay the progression of Alzheimer's and dementia.

Though it may be a challenge, helping our elderly loved ones remain independent as long as possible without risking their safety will ensure that they are able to enjoy their "golden years" to the utmost...and they will love you all the more for it!