Many people find themselves in an unexpected caregiving role and while this role can be fulfilling, it’s not without its challenges. Finding balance as a caregiver is important and learning to take necessary breaks to avoid burnout. On top of taking care of ourselves, we must also learn the best way to care for someone else. If you are new to the caregiving role or just seeking a little extra guidance on how to be a better caregiver, check out these tips below.
- Talk with the doctor or specialist and learn as much as you can about the recipient’s diagnosis. This will help you understand their health condition and what you can do to help. What skills will you need to care for this person? Will their condition progress? What physical and cognitive changes can you expect?
- Discuss finances, healthcare wishes and fill out any legal paperwork such as Power of Attorney, Release of Information or Advanced Directives. Find out if there is money available to help with care and any debts that need to be dealt with. Take care of all legal matters so you don’t run into any roadblocks while you are trying to provide care.
- Remember, caregiving is a team effort and not something you should have to do alone. Talk with friends and family and create roles for them, find out what type of support each person is willing to offer. Keep everyone informed and up to date on the care recipient’s’ condition.
- If you don’t have friends or family available to help with the caregiving role, then consider looking to Home Care Companies for support. AmeriCare provides a variety of Home Care services, including respite care: a service that provides relief to the primary caregivers so that they can handle their own needs and take necessary breaks.
- Find support for yourself and the recipient. Look for local resources, community support groups and ask medical providers if they have any recommendations.
- Be organized with your care to help reduce stress and create a sense of purpose for you and your care recipient. Assign realistic goals and priorities. Create a list of what needs to be done each day or week to stay on track.
- Keep emergency numbers and medical providers information where they can be easily located. Keep notes and medical records important to your recipients care in one place so that someone else can easily access them if needed.
- Remember to be the best caregiver, you must first care for yourself. Take time to care for your needs, if you show up tired and undernourished or stressed, chances are the care you have to give will not be at your best.
- Try to keep a positive attitude towards caregiving. You have control over your own happiness.