Caregiving is an essential role that many people find themselves filling, whether planned or unexpected. For most, caregiving responsibility is not considered until someone you love needs care. But no matter your case, once the responsibility presents itself, it is essential to approach caring for your loved one with diligence.
Becoming a caregiver for a loved one does not mean that you will automatically develop the skills needed to provide the best care. So, what is the best way to take on such a responsibility? And how do you prepare yourself to give your best? The following are five essential tips that may help you become a better caregiver:
Learn as Much as You Can about Your Loved One’s Diagnosis
It will be difficult to offer the right care if you do not have a clear understanding of your loved one’s diagnosis. Therefore, the first thing to do is to consult with the doctor to gain a clear understanding of your loved one’s health. However, you need to get your loved one’s documented consent before speaking with their doctor.
Be sure that you are clearly informed about signs, symptoms, and necessary treatments needed to properly care for your loved one. You may also want to learn about your loved one’s diet and any restrictions. If there are no such requirements, you can rely on a senior nutrition program to provide your loved one with nutritionally balanced meals.
Also, please take note of any required medication, their dosages, and ensure that you know what to do in case of emergency. Ensure that you have everything from the right first aid to the correct contact number to call in case of an emergency.
Do Not be Afraid to Ask for Help
Caring for someone you love can be extremely stressful. Therefore, it is vital to ask for help as often as you need to, especially if you are carrying the weight of responsibility alone. Fortunately, there are different potential sources of assistance. If you have family members or friends you can rely on, try getting them to help as often as possible. For example, they can help you with simple errands like picking up a prescription from the pharmacy when you need some downtime.
You can also access support from Caregiver Support Services, an in-person local caregiver support group, or join the CSS Caregiver Forums online. Such online platforms will connect you with other caregivers who can give you the needed support.
Schedule your Time
You can expect your regular daily routine to change significantly to accommodate your new responsibilities as a caregiver. Therefore, it is crucial to learn to schedule your days if you want to effectively manage your time. You will want to determine which of your daily routines you may need to alter so that you can properly care for your loved one. Scheduling your time can be the difference between being able to properly care for your loved one and burning out.
Take Good Care of Yourself
Speaking of burnout, it is essential to also take good care of yourself. The logic here is simple – you cannot care for your loved one if you are not caring for yourself. Therefore, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and be sure that you get enough rest. Also, manage your expectations and learn to be patient with yourself and your loved one. Effectively managing your expectations will be useful in preventing frustration when things do not go as planned.
In addition to your health, you will want to consider your financial resources. You will likely be making considerable sacrifices with your financial resources, which might be uncomfortable. Devising a plan can help you ensure that such changes are not overly disruptive.
If your loved one can understand legal documents, you might discuss the possibility of signing a power of attorney. This should cover finances, assets, properties, and investments. Doing this will put you in a better position to take care of their finances when your loved one is unable and make it easier to assist them in the future.