If you begin to need help with your day to day activities, this reality can be frightening. Nobody likes feeling vulnerable, and when you’ve been a self-sufficient adult all your life, asking for help is very hard. No matter what your situation is or why you might need care, admitting you need help is challenging for most people. So how can you make coping with your care needs easier?
Firstly, take your time to get your head around it. If you need help with moving around your home, cooking meals, or even something more sensitive like using the bathroom facilities, confide in a friend your age about this. They are likely to understand this feeling of vulnerability too, and will help you come to terms with this change in your life. Try not to see asking for help as a negative thing, but instead as an act of self-care.
Secondly, explore all your care options. Just because you need a helping hand, it doesn’t mean you should leave your home and move into full time care. You may only need an hour or two of assistance per day, or even less than this. Speak with your doctor about what you are experiencing and they may be able to help you find the best options for your needs. If you have close family to hand, let them know you are exploring different options, and take your time to decide.
Thirdly, get to know the person who begins to care for you. There are even options to hire friends and family through companies such as freedomcare, who will be reliably paid to take care of your needs. This could help your feelings of anxiety, because the person delivering your care will be a familiar face and a trusted individual.
However, if you do decide to hire a nurse or an outside carer, try to be open-minded. These dedicated individuals are there to make you feel comfortable and put your life in an easier position. It is tempting to lash out at such individuals at the beginning, usually due to the stress or fear of having a stranger in your home. However, do try to remain calm and if you are afraid, express this concern to your carer. They will have extensive experience and will try to put your mind at ease.
If you wish to continue taking care of yourself but have some alterations that need to be made to your space, consider moving to a bungalow or flat for more comfort. This way, you can avoid stairs and live more easily within your space. Similarly, you can invest in a walker or chair which will help you be self sufficient without needing a caregiver.
No matter what, everyone needs help sometimes. Try to acknowledge this change as the next chapter of your long life, and do not give in to your temptations of being anxious or bitter about your care needs. Life moves in seasons, and you are into your next one. Embrace it.