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When a Loved One is in Poor Health

Updated: Jul 13, 2022



When a relative is dealing with the poor health of a senior, they may:

  • Be terrified that their loved one will be disabled or pass away.

  • Feel helpless because their loved one’s health is out of their control.

  • Worry about how they are going to pay for their loved one’s care.

  • Be sleep-deprived from taking care of their loved one…or from worrying.

  • Put off taking care of themselves because they are too stressed over their loved one’s health.

  • Must deal with family members who haven’t been “in the picture” for a long time.

  • Be angry about how their own lives will change because of their loved one’s poor health.

  • Feel overwhelmed by the health care system, including doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists,


When you or a relative is dealing with the poor health of a loved one:

  • Refrain from sharing horror stories to family members providing care. Dealing with the decline of a senior means making difficult decisions regarding their care. Most of the care sought will be provided appropriately. Sharing the story of a news article or story regarding an acquaintance who had a negative experience will only add to the worry.

  • Remember that your own health is just as important as the loved-one who is in poor health. Family members need moments away to refresh themselves so they can continue to support and care for their loved one.

  • Encourage family members who cannot visit to send letters, photos or little gifts to their loved ones. Help to display these items in their rooms so they can see them daily. Sometimes, these visual reminders of their families will help them feel better and in turn make the family member providing care feel that they are remembered.

  • The gift of time can mean a lot to someone caring for a loved one. If you are not able to give your own time, help by providing a professional caregiver to provide some needed respite for the family caregiver.

  • If you want to help a relative who is providing care, ask specific questions on how you can help, not a generic, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” Ask if you can bring a meal, offer to cover the next medical appointment, or cover a specific night.


Source: In the Know Caregiver Training; Homecare Pulse

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