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What are the challenges of family caregivers who take care of a person with a loss of autonomy?

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Quels sont les défis des proches aidants qui prennent soin d’une personne en perte d’autonomie

In the life of an elderly person with a loss of autonomy, there is most of the time a spouse, a daughter or a son, a relative or close friends. Without the help and support of these “caregivers”, many seniors would not be able to stay at home, where they have often lived a large part of their existence.

According to a portrait of family caregivers carried out in 2012 by the Agence de la statistique, 13 million Canadians aged 15 and over had provided some form of care to a family member or to a child in their lifetime. friend with a long-term health problem, disability, or problems related to aging.

Caregivers provide a wide range of care, support and support which generally involves physical effort and emotional investment. Almost two-thirds of family caregivers in Canada (most often between the ages of 25 and 65) provide daily personal care to a person with a loss of autonomy, such as support to go to the bathroom, assistance with bathing or showering, assistance with personal hygiene and clothing.

These tasks have their set of challenges and responsibilities that vary according to the degree of loss of autonomy of the senior. Securing the environment, in particular to prevent falls and dealing with the natural modesty of an elderly person are major issues facing family caregivers.

Prevent falls in the elderly

According to the organization Support for the caregivers of seniors, one in three falls does not cause any serious injury, but has consequences, including fractures, hospitalizations and rehabilitation needs that can weaken an elderly person and worsen his loss of life. autonomy so as to bring into play home support.

The leading cause of hospitalization for injuries among older Canadians, falls have consequences on the life of the elderly, but also on family caregivers, whether they are family members, friends or health care providers. It is important to note that the majority of caregivers in Canada easily devote 10 hours per week of their time to helping a person with a loss of autonomy.

For caregivers, the challenge is to observe and identify what can cause accidental falls, because the opportunities for falling are multiple and often related to the state of health of the elderly person (motor, visual, cognitive abilities , etc.), its environment or the side effects of drugs.

Deal with the privacy and modesty of an elder

Privacy and modesty often lead an elderly person with a loss of autonomy to refuse home care such as assistance with personal hygiene and clothing. A senior may not want to take their clothes off in front of someone, to be touched or to have someone wash them. The caregiver will often face manifestations of anger or anxiety, fear and withdrawal from an elderly person who feels in a vulnerable situation. Cognitive problems such as memory loss, the onset of Alzheimer's or senility, limitations (the person is bedridden or in a wheelchair), confusion and a weakened physical condition of the senior are all factors that can complicate the situation and that family caregivers must deal with when accompanying a person with a loss of autonomy.

It is therefore essential to show empathy and respect, at all times, the dignity of an elderly person, especially if their loss of autonomy makes them vulnerable. A senior with a loss of autonomy may feel invaded in his privacy or fear a loss of independence at different stages of his career. A family caregiver must adapt to changes and always proceed gradually and establish a relationship of trust before providing assistance or service to an elderly person with a loss of autonomy.

To make the life of family caregivers easier, there are solutions that make it easier to provide home care to an elderly person. Hygienic , which specializes in the sale of products intended for home support for people with loss of autonomy, offers on its website a complete range of products adapted to facilitate daily washing and hygiene in the event of loss of autonomy. .

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