June 17, 2015
As a caregiver, your duty is to make sure your loved one is treated with respect, dignity, and kept safe. Whether you’re the sole caregiver, or you’re providing care to someone with the help of assisted living, being a caregiver can be an overwhelming position. Here are some tips to make this meaningful job a bit easier.
- Planning your day ahead of time benefits both you. Once you have a routine, your loved one will know what to expect, and so will you. Be sure to leave some wiggle-room, as things don’t always go according to plan.
- Call on friends, neighbors, relatives, and take a breather from one another. You’re no good to anyone if you’re stressed, leading to frustration for both of you. When well meaning people inquire about a visit, take them up on it. Recharge your own batteries while your loved one is enjoying a visit with someone new.
- Pace Yourself. Realize your limitations and theirs. Don’t try to tackle a “to-do” list. Have plans in mind but expect to go-with-the-flow. You’ll both be happier.
- Learn to say no to outside requests. Your time is precious. Those who matter will understand.
- Develop a partnership and communicate with health care providers. Be present at every doctor visit and let the physician and staff know that you are the patient’s main caregiver and advocate.
- Laugh each day. Watch a favorite sitcom on television. Chuckle over stories from the past. Bring a joke book to your next visit and read aloud to your loved one. You’ll be surprised how good it feels to laugh.
- Support groups and organizations are there to offer advice, and a shoulder to cry on. Knowing you’re not alone is sometimes all the support you may need.
- Having legal control of your loved ones finances, and medical say-so is critical. In the elderly, health can deteriorate at a rapid pace and it will be up to you to make decisions. When you have power-of-attorney you’ll be able to make sure decisions are made with their well-being in mind.
- Above all, see to your own health. You can only give care if you’re feeling your best. Nurture yourself, get plenty of sleep, eat properly, and take some time away to decompress. Depression is natural for caregivers, especially when you’re charged with the care of a parent, spouse, or close family member. Let your doctor know you’re a caregiver..