When parents are struggling to take care of their mother or father, a granddaughter can be an awesome caregiver. It can be very trying for caregivers both physically and emotionally to keep up with life on two fronts and a granddaughter, capable of stepping in and helping out can be a Godsend.
WHAT QUALIFIES A GRANDAUGHTER TO BE A CAREGIVER?
Of course, a granddaughter has to be old enough to understand what it means to be a caregiver. Ideally, a granddaughter in her twenties or older would be ideal as it could prove to be a very difficult undertaking for a teenager.
In most cases, a teenager just doesn’t have the life experience required to step into such a serious role. An older granddaughter would most likely have a better understanding of what is required in order to be a caregiver for a grandparent who might have mobility, hearing, vision, or cognitive issues.
GRANDDAUGHTER’S AS SOLE CAREGIVERS
Most women in their twenties are at the stage in their life when they are trying to find their place in the world. They may have just started a new job or perhaps moved out of the family home and are striking out on their own for the first time.
In order to be the sole caregiver of a grandparent, a granddaughter can feel just as much mental, physical, and emotional stress as any other family adult. It’s always the best if several family members play a part in the caregiving role. This way no one person is expected to take on the responsibility all by themselves.
It’s important that every caregiver has time to take care of issues in their own life as opposed to doing their best to juggle what amounts to a dual set of responsibilities.
GRANDDAUGHTER’S CHOSEN TO BE CAREGIVERS
In some cases, a senior will have a grandchild that has always been extra special to them. They may prefer a specific granddaughter to be their caregiver even over their own son or daughter.
Seniors can be very stubborn and may resist some family caregivers who try to get them to exercise, eat properly, or bathe. Yet, when their special granddaughter tries to get them to do something they are happy to oblige.
The granddaughter gets a big smile whenever she arrives and the grandparent who might be sour to other family caregivers might respond happily whenever their grandchild asks them to do something. This can be very empowering to a granddaughter.
Chances are it will mean a lot to them that the grandparent, they love has chosen them above everyone else to be their special caregiver.
Here are some excellent books for Caregivers.
The 36-Hour Day– A family guide to caring for people who have Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss.
Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer’s Journey– A Guide for Families and Caregivers, Fifth Edition, Revised and Expanded
A PRIVILEGE OR BURDEN?
In the beginning, it might be a privilege, but over time, the responsibility can become burdensome no matter how much a granddaughter loves her grandparent.
Chances are, she has a full-time job and her own set of responsibilities. Running errands and doting on a grandparent can eventually take a serious toll. Maybe she asks her mother or other family members if they can help out, but is met by a cool response.
Because she was chosen specifically by the senior to be the number one caregiver other family members might feel some animosity toward the granddaughter. As a result, they may become cool toward offering any help because the,y were initially left out of the role and feel snubbed.
HOW TO AVOID BEING THE SOLE CAREGIVER
From the very beginning, the granddaughter would be better served to be part of a caregiving team instead of the sole caregiver. It’s important to make that distinction when the issue first arises.
As is usually the case, the grandparent would be more receptive to any suggestions their favorite granddaughter might make. If the grandparent chose her over everyone else, it’s important the granddaughter lay down some ground rules from the very beginning.
It’s much harder to make changes later in the game, but if the senior knew from the very beginning that the granddaughter would not be doing all the caregiving, chances are the senior would agree to have several caregivers.
As flattering as it might be for a granddaughter to be chosen about everyone else, common sense dictates that the caregiving duties be shared.
SHARING DUTIES MAKES FOR A HAPPIER FAMILY
If there is only one family caregiver it can be very tiring, but the problems run far deeper than that.
Other members of the family might feel alienated and left on the sidelines if one specific family member is chosen by the senior to play the role of caregiver.
It would make far more sense for the sons and daughters of a senior to play a leading caregiving role and have the granddaughter help out whenever she is able. This way the majority of the responsibility falls on the adults and this is as it should be.
It’s asking a lot of a young woman to shoulder such a big burden on her own when she is just starting out in life. Besides, sharing the responsibility would help keep peace in the family and it gives everyone a clearer picture of what their role is as a caregiver.
ADULT CHILDREN CAN ASSERT THEMSELVES
A granddaughter might not be as assertive with a grandparent as a son or daughter might be. In an effort to keep the senior happy a granddaughter might be easily manipulated.
Parents have had a lifetime of growing up with their mother and father and will most likely be in a better position to assert themselves while in the caregiving role. There are going to be times when decisions have to be made and the children of seniors are usually in a better position to negotiate.
A granddaughter might let her love of her grandparents get in the way and as a result, give in to whatever they want. This is not always a good thing because often, seniors might not realize what’s best for them under a given set of circumstances.
For instance, what if the senior’s children suggest hiring help or perhaps moving into a retirement facility of some type? This could be a very difficult conversation for a younger granddaughter to have as the sole caregiver.
Even if a favorite granddaughter is chosen to be the sole caregiver it should be understood in the very beginning that it’s just not possible for her to do it on her own.
It’s a discussion the whole family should have. Ultimately, it should be the sons and daughters of the senior in question who take the leading role with the granddaughter as part of the team instead of going solo.
No matter if it’s a granddaughter or older adult in the caregiving role, it makes no sense to try to do it by oneself. Ultimately it could well lead to depression, isolation, and resentment.
Being part of a team means that it will be possible to take much-needed respite. What a difference if a caregiver can take off on a holiday and get a much-needed break from the caregiving role and come back refreshed.
In this situation, everyone, including the senior, can come out ahead and chances are the family unit will be in a far more harmonious state if they make the wise decision of sharing the caregiving role.
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