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The Number One Fear of a Family Caregiver: What if I Make a Mistake?

The Number One Fear of a Family Caregiver: What if I Make a Mistake?

“Of course Mom can move in with me!” 

Family caregivers are making this noble decision each and every day, signifying the beginning of lifestyle changes they can only truly comprehend once immersed in them. And while the rewards of providing care for an older loved one are immeasurable, they’re not without a variety of challenges as well.

It may seem second-nature to manage everyday tasks for a senior loved one; yet it’s not as intuitive as it appears at first glance. For instance, a family caregiver assisting a senior in the shower or bath incorrectly can lead to a fall. Improper incontinence care can cause skin damage and infection. Noncompliance with a prescribed dietary plan can result in a wide range of health complications. 

It’s no wonder that in a recent report shared by AARP, “Home Alone Revisited,” many family caregivers revealed anxiety over the potential for making a mistake in the care they provide. The report highlights responses from a survey sent to over 2,000 family caregivers, who indicated that although they believed their caregiving was enabling their loved ones to remain at home instead of facing a move to an assisted living or nursing home environment, they expressed concern over their competency to perform the tasks required.

Participants in the survey revealed that the most emotionally challenging aspect of caregiving is incontinence care. And, nearly ¾ of family caregivers surveyed are routinely performing medical tasks associated with pain management – tasks for which they wished they’d received better instruction and guidance from the senior’s health care team.

Heather Young, dean emerita at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis (and co-author of the report) explains that, “Too often (family caregivers) are unprepared and do not get the support they need to assume these important roles.”

Reaching out for assistance and training in unfamiliar tasks is vital for family caregivers. Those who partner with a professional in-home care provider, such as the Windsor home care team at Amy’s Helping Hands, can reduce the trepidation and uncertainty in managing care at home effectively. Our caregivers are fully trained in the many intricacies of aging care, and can provide family members with necessary guidance and education. We also offer safe, reliable respite care services that enable family caregivers to step away from their care duties while knowing their older loved one will be safe and well cared for.

Contact us at 519-915-4370 for a free in-home consultation to learn more.


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