Accepting that you need extra help is hard enough, but adapting to having an in-home carer can be stressful. You’re likely to feel anxious, sad, and emotional, which is completely normal. It’s also common to feel like you’re losing your independence, which isn’t the case. In fact, you’re gaining more time to do the things you love and to spend with the people you care about. You shouldn’t feel ashamed for accepting help; you should feel proud that you’ve come to this decision.
An in-home carer will come to your house and help you with tasks like household maintenance, health care, and personal care. They can even drive you to appointments or to do your grocery shopping. (1)
Still, change can be hard to adjust to. Here are five tips to make the transition smoother:
- Find the right carer for you
There are a lot of places that offer in home care for seniors, but before rushing into hiring someone, it’s important to understand how a carer’s personality will impact you. You’ll be spending a lot of time together and difficulties can arise if you don’t get along with each other. Ideally you want to hire someone who won’t patronize you and will provide a high level of care. Some qualities to look for in a carer are:
Ultimately you want to find someone who will support you and make you happy. The process to find this person could take days or even months, but remember, once you find the right person, everything else will become much easier.
- Be patient throughout the adjustment
Change is never easy, and can even be frustrating and stressful. Coming to terms with the fact that you need extra help can be a very emotionally taxing process. Still, over time you’ll get used to the changes and you’ll likely be happier overall.
To make the process easier, keep in mind that it can take a while to form a new routine. On average, it takes between 18 and 254 days to establish a new habit. Adapting to being cared for is a lot like adopting a new habit, and it may take even longer if you’re used to a set routine that you’ve had for years. (2)
If and when you get frustrated, remind yourself that the unsettled felling will end. Try taking some deep breaths any time you feel you’re being impatient or struggling with the transition.
- Be positive about change
Focusing on the positives in life can benefit people’s overall health, especially in times of transformation. If you struggle with seeing the good things in life, you might benefit from seeing a psychiatrist in Orlando if you’re based in central Florida, or in your local area if not. They will provide professional help, and can even offer it over the phone.
Keeping a positive mindset can potentially:
- Lower rates of distress
- Lower chances of developing depression
- Help fight the common cold
- Work as a coping mechanism in times of hardship. (3)
There are many ways to help you actively focus on the positive in order to get these benefits. Some are to:
- Practice gratitude—Every day, write a list of three things you’re grateful for that have occurred in the last 24 hours. You’ll find that you start to appreciate the small things in life that easily go unnoticed, and that you have a happier outlook overall.
- Emphasize the positive—Don’t dwell on the negatives in life; instead, give more attention to the good things. Rather than saying something is “alright,” tell yourself “it’s great.” Believe it or not, this can help you bounce back from difficulties more quickly.
- Focus on enjoyment—When something pleasurable happens, take extra time to consciously appreciate and enjoy it. Try to focus on the individual flavors in the next meal you have, rather than the mere fact that you’re eating it. You might find that it tastes completely different. (4)
Practicing positivity will make your transition to having an in-home carer easier. Additionally, it can lift your mood, and make other areas of your life more enjoyable.
- Prepare the home
Setting up your home to make it easier for a carer to work there will help them take better care of you. Consider organizing your belongings to simplify the cleaning process and to enable your carer to easily find the things you need.
Since your carer will help you get around your house, making that easier on yourself helps them too. Installing railings can be a big help, especially in places like:
- In the shower
- Near the stairs
- Next to the toilet.
Furniture can make a difference too. Buying yourself a specialized armchair that aids you when standing up could be greatly beneficial, especially if you’ve lost strength in your legs. Similarly, consider buying a supportive bed if you find it difficult getting up in the mornings.
It also pays to eliminate tripping hazards, for you and your carer. Keep the floor clear and fix any issues that you’ve noticed. For example, if the corner of a rug consistently folds and causes you to stumble, think about removing it or replacing it with a one made from a heavier material.
- Enjoy the help
It’s easy to feel that you’re losing your independence when someone starts caring for you; however, it’s important to not feel angry or embarrassed. Instead, remind yourself to enjoy the help and be happy that you have the opportunity to be taken care of. Try to take some joy in the extra time you have now that you don’t have to cook your own meals or clean your living space.
You’ll be able to focus more on the activities you enjoy, whether that’s reading or playing cards. Keep in mind that you’ll still have the comforts of you own home and you don’t have to adapt to new surroundings. Feel grateful that you have the opportunity and the means—whether it’s from the government, family members, or yourself—to have an in-home carer instead of struggling to get by on your own.
These five tips are just some of the many things you can do to help make your transition to in-home care smoother. Choosing the right person for you will save you unnecessary stress and help you adapt more quickly. Keeping a positive mindset and being patient will allow you to enjoy the process. Organizing and preparing your home for the carer will help both of you stay safe and save time. Most importantly, enjoying the extra time you have for the things you love will make having an in-home carer a more pleasant experience.