Realising you need Aged Care assistance and support as you grow older is confronting and scary. This sentiment rings true for everyone but especially our loved ones.
Elderly Australians who go through the life-cycle of needing assistance may feel a range of emotions, and supporting them throughout this time is important. But what can carers expect during this period, and how can they best navigate it?
This article will look at how you can care for your loved one through their most vulnerable time.
Mental health and older Australians
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, mental health disorders are common among older Australians. In fact, around 10 to 15% of people over 65 have experienced depression and anxiety, and at least 49% of aged care residents have been diagnosed with depression.
With depression expected to become the largest healthcare burden in Australia by 2030, it’s important not to let depression among elderly Australians go undiagnosed. Social stigma is the main factor preventing seniors from seeking help, so they may be less likely to share their anxiety and depression with their loved ones. As such, you should look out for signs of depression and take steps to address them.
What are the most common emotions experienced when entering Aged Care?
Elderly Australians learning to accept aged care assistance, be it through Home Care or an Aged Care Home, may experience feelings of depression, fear, anxiety, and even embarrassment. Here are some signs of emotional distress you can look out for:
- Being worried, restless, and confused more than usual
- The inability to find pleasure in their everyday activities
- Withdrawing from family, friends, and social activities
- Being moody, irritable, and even aggressive toward their loved ones
- Sleeping more, or less, than usual
- Slowed movement and reaction
- Loss in appetite and digestive upsets.
If you notice your loved one showing signs of anxiety or depression, it’s important to reassure them, even if they may be in denial about how they feel. Book an appointment with their GP to discuss different treatments.
Supporting a senior loved one
Everyone thrives when they feel safe and secure. Hence, your loved one needs to feel comfortable with the Home Care or Aged Care Home and the people who will be caring for them. Here are some ways to emotionally support them when looking at both care options.
How you can support a loved one looking for an Aged Care Home
Moving into an Aged Care Home is often not a choice. If your loved one can be part of the selection of an Aged Care Home you can ask them to be part of the process of researching, touring, and selecting the home, and assuring them that they are not going through it alone. You may wish to consider a trial period in a home by using their respite services so your loved one can get a sense of what it might be like to move in permanently.
In addition, the financial planning and arrangements are often one of the most challenging tasks in preparing for the move to an Aged Care Home.The fee structure and finance terminologies of Aged Care can be confusing for both carers and elderly Australians. So be sure to get help if you need it. CareAbout can assist in explaining the terms plainly and clearly for carers and their loved ones and can put you in touch with specialist financial services.
How to support a loved one dealing with the emotional challenges of Home Care
While Home Care doesn’t require someone to move out, inviting care workers into your home can also bring about feelings of fear and anxiety. To support your loved one it’s important to reassure them that they are in control of the care and support they receive and the intention of Home Care is to keep them at home for as long as possible with the best quality of life.
Once you have chosen your provider, it’s essential to build a relationship with them so that you can keep updated on your loved one’s health and well-being. Maintaining a strong connection with the care workers also helps you communicate with them, and keeps your loved one from repeating their wants and needs multiple times.
Finding the right Home Care and Aged Care Home is an emotional time for elderly Australians and their families, and you should feel supported instead of overwhelmed during this process. Fortunately, you do not have to do this alone. CareAbout helps carers and seniors find proper care for themselves and their loved ones and navigate the various Home Care and Aged Care options. For experienced help with understanding Aged Care Homes and Providers, contact our team for a personalised discussion.