Americans are living longer than ever before, and as the millions of baby boomers reach retirement age, more and more people are spending time caring for an elderly family member. Many of the elder care tasks they perform are relatively minor, such as providing transportation or performing household chores, but even simple tasks can be stressful. That stress can turn what should be a helpful relationship into a damaging one.
Caregiving or Caretaking
Providing elder care as a caregiver is a positive experience for both people. However, when the person providing care does so to the extent that he or she feels overly stressed, depressed, or aggravated, that relationship turns into a caretaking situation. Caretaking is a negative relationship, while caregiving is a positive one.
In elder care situations a caretaking relationship often exhibits a lack of boundaries. This means that the person providing care is unable to separate him or herself from the elderly person’s life and feels obligated to do everything. It’s very important for anyone providing elder care to realize that the elderly person, even though he or she may need your help in some situations, is capable of doing a lot on his or her own.
When you cross the threshold between caregiver to caretaker it’s important to seek help. For example, if you have multiple duties you can ask friends or family members to take on one or two of them. You can also develop a schedule to rotate elder care responsibilities or look into professional assistance.