When You Become a Caregiver
If you have aging parents, now is the time to start preparing so you are not suddenly thrust into the role. In this article, we wanted to provide you with a few tips on how to prepare for the future or if you are in that position, now you may find a few tips to help with the life adjustment.
Understand Your Role
Carefully decide what the role of the caregiver is going to be. When first caring for a loved one, try to figure realistically what the caregiver can handle and what the patient can handle. It’s important to let someone maintain a realistic amount of independence without risk to their health and safety.
This also prevents the caregiver from burning out too quickly as time passes. Here are a few roles that we recommend discussing. Some roles can be delegated out to other family members so sole care does not fall on just one person:
- Cook, clean, bathe
Cooking, cleaning and bathing is a responsibility that can be shared among different family members. Communication and assignments should be handled by one person to avoid confusion and make sure everyone is doing their part when they are supposed to.
- Transportation and advocate.
Making sure your loved one is getting to doctor’s appointments is important. The primary caregiver should also be in charge of scheduling doctor’s appointments and attending appointments to ensuring continuity of care.
Now it is possible for seniors to shop on their own if they are computer savvy. Everyday items such as grocery’s, clothing, household items, and prescriptions can be delivered straight to the door. From time to time, we will still have to run errands for those that can’t drive.
- Paying bills
For caregiver’s it’s easy to set up automatic bill pay to help streamline handling someone’s financial’s. However, it’s still important to make sure credit cards are being paid and bank statements are reconciled to make sure no one is taking advantage of the infirmed, they are not falling victim to identity theft or running out of money.
Companionship is probably the most important aspect of being a caregiver. Everyone needs company and someone to talk to. Try not to get lost in the technical details of a task list and enjoy the time of having simple conversations and reminiscing. Later on you will be happy you had those moments.
Pace Yourself and Set Boundaries
In the early stages of becoming a caregiver, don’t over do it. It’s important to avoid exhaustion and resentment. Carefully asses the needs of your loved one and allow them to maintain some independence when possible.
Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of yourself. One of the first things they tell before takeoff on an airplane is to put your oxygen mask on first before helping someone else.