Everything is Easier When We Plan Well

The 5 Stages of Family Care-Giving


Stage 1: Independence

It is very important for an ageing individual to maintain certain points of independence within their day to day living. This stage is often a time when adult children begin to perceive their parents as “older” and “less capable”. Regardless of perceptions, seniors at this stage are usually quite capable of taking care of themselves, though not in the ways preferred by their children. These elderly people may indeed be experiencing some of the ailments associated with ageing (e.g. heart conditions, arthritis, hearing or visual impairments), but these individuals are still capable of compensating on their own for any loss of function. It is also very important to begin the process of End of Life Planning. Education is very important. There are many wonderful events for seniors in our community. Follow the Live Your Best Facebook page for updates.


Stage 2: Interdependence

During this stage, due to disabilities, elderly people may need a variety of assistance services. With this being said, the senior may be firmly resistant to employing outside help. During this stage, seniors will accept family help. The family support parents by; preparing meals, driving to doctor appointments or assisting with grocery shopping and this will usually be accepted. Also during this stage, seniors are likely to accept technological devices that can help with their day to day living. Examples of such technology include emergency call devices, video call systems (to stay in touch by both voice and visually) or even stair lifts.


Stage 3: Supportive Living

At this stage, seniors are coping with more than one disability and often experience chronic pain. At this point, seniors are willing to accept the help of an outside caregiver that can aid in healthcare or personal care. Family members are also often involved in coordinating personal support workers, nurses and therapists. This task can be very overwhelming and is one of the many services a Geriatric Care Manager offers.


Stage 4: Complex Care/Crisis Management

Stage four is often a very difficult time for everyone involved. At this stage the physical and/or mental condition of the senior has deteriorated to a state that he or she is dependent on others for most of their day to day activities. Despite the involvement of family members, the level of care necessary for the senior may be higher than the level of care a family member can give. This can lead to one crisis after another that can easily lead to a burn out in the motivation of the relative.


Stage 5: Dependence

At this stage, many families have come to see that the well being of both the senior and the family as whole would be better served by a nursing home. The environment within a 24-hour health institution would be much safer and comforting than attempting to make a patchwork of home-care services. A Geriatric Care Manager would find the best suiting establishment and aid in the re-location of the senior.