Relationships are frequently challenging. To maintain or improve the relationships in your life, it is important to have a deep understanding of not only yourself but the loved one with which you have the relationship. A particularly challenging relationship is that of the aging family member and adult relative acting as a caregiver. As elders get older, physical and mental challenges and limitations increase and adult relatives often have to step in as a caregiver. This can cause an initially uncomfortable shift in the relationship dynamic that can be returned to a more normal place by knowing or discussing how both the aging family member and their caregiver best give and receive love through the five love languages.
Words of Affirmation
Often the most important thing an elderly loved one can know is that you care enough about them to call and check on their wellbeing. Taking the time to call and affirm your feelings for them can be huge. The same can be said for caregivers. Call or text the caregivers in your life so that they know that people do care about them and are looking out for them while they are occupied looking out for someone else. They want and need to hear that their efforts are recognized, they are doing enough, and can handle anything that comes their way.
The love language of physical touch is more than sustained hugs, though those will go a long way for people whose love language is physical touch. Loving and gentle physical touch gets rarer as someone ages. Holding hands, a gentle touch on the hand or arm during conversation, sitting close, are all vitally important. Caregivers responsible for personal care can share physical touch by applying lotion to hands and arms or putting in extra effort when brushing and styling their loved one’s hair.
Acts of Service
Doing things for or having things done for you is one of the more common love languages amongst caregivers and their loved ones. Having food delivered to a caregiver or gifting them with a house cleaning session takes care of them while they work to take care of a loved one. The loved one needing care might appreciate a homemaking care specialist coming by once or twice a week to take care of household chores to increase the quality time the loved one can spend with their caregiver.
Quality time involves doing activities together that either one or both the caregiver and loved one enjoy. Sometimes the caregiver and loved one have different time needs, and the caregiver needs to be invited to a meal or a movie and can relax in a non-caregiving environment. When caregivers are juggling their own needs and those of their loved one, it can be helpful to hire companion care to come by once or twice a week to help with the loved one’s hobbies.
Gifting can be the easiest of the love languages because they don’t have to be outrageous, just a surprise. For the elderly or disabled, consider comfortable, non-slip socks, a new or extra cushion for their favorite chair, or a special lotion with a gentle fragrance. For the caregiver, they’re always looking for the gift of time. Whether it is someone to help with their life so they can attend to the family member in need or someone to help with things at the loved one’s house while they handle things with their own family.
No matter which love language the caregiver or loved one in your life appreciates, Griswold Home Care of Greater Orlando has a caregiver referral service to help. Companion care, homemaking care, personal care — they refer professional and experienced caregivers for all these needs and more. Not sure which best fits your needs? Or do you need a little bit of all their care services at different times? Contact Griswold Home Care Orlando and speak to one of their knowledgeable care representatives about getting the necessary help for the family caregiver or loved one in your life.