Often times a person becomes a caregiver very suddenly. An older adult family member may suffer a sudden illness, like a heart attack, stroke, or cancer diagnosis. When that happens, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of what to do next.
If you’re new to being a caregiver, here are 5 tips to help you get started.
#1 Find Sources of Support
You probably have a lot of questions about being a caregiver, and throughout the course of your caregiving journey, more questions are likely to come up. Locate people and organizations that can help you learn about being a caregiver. You might want to join a caregiver support group where you’ll likely meet others who have been caregivers for a longer time and can provide you with advice. Another good source of assistance is the local senior center. They may be able to give you information about other local resources.
#2 Find People to Help
You shouldn’t try to take on being a caregiver all on your own. Ask family members and friends for help. Sometimes they might be more receptive to helping if you tell them exactly what you need help with. For example, if someone needs to do the grocery shopping for the older adult, you might ask someone to handle just that task. Or, you can offer a list of things you need help with and let people choose. If you don’t have family members or friends who can help, consider contacting a home care agency to hire a professional caregiver to come to the older adult’s home.
#3 Let Your Children Be Involved
If you’re a parent taking care of your own parent, you can feel like the rope in a tug of war. Instead of trying to divide your time between the two, allow your children to be involved. Even young children can help with simple tasks, like folding grandma’s towels when they come out of the dryer, or bringing grandpa a snack.
#4 Take Care of Yourself
Sometimes people get so wrapped up in caregiving that they forget to take care of their own health, too. However, your good health is extremely important to your success as a caregiver. After all, if you’re not well, you won’t be able to take care of your family member. Keep up with your regular health appointments, eat healthy, and make time to exercise.
#5 Create a File
Put together a file that contains the older adult’s family history, a list of their medications, and documents pertinent to their care. Include photocopies of important documents, such as their insurance cards and Medicare ID. Make sure other family caregivers know where to find the file in case of an emergency. The information in the file can make getting appropriate emergency care easier and streamline the process of checking into a hospital when needed.
If you or an aging loved one are in need of Caregiver Services in Allentown PA or the surrounding areas, contact the caring professionals at Extended Family Care of Allentown. Call today at (610) 200-6097.
Carole gained most of her formal managerial training by attending Pennsylvania State University in pursuit of her degree in Health Policy and Administration. She attributes her informal training to have been acquired on a more personal level. Carole understands first-hand what families may experience when allowing a home care provider access to their home while providing care to their loved one. She was a caregiver for two of her grandparents until their passing and believes in the importance of allowing family members the opportunity to remain in the comfort of home if they so desire. Carole is also the mother of a child with multiple medical conditions who requires nursing services in the home. It is because of her personal experiences that Carole understands first-hand how important it is to manage a quality, high-integrity home care agency in which clients and families can place their trust and be confident they are receiving the best care possible. Carole also believes in the importance of giving back to the community. Therefore, she volunteers and spear-heads fundraising activities for a variety of charitable and professional organizations, namely the Pennsylvania Home Care Association, Autism Speaks and Avengers Baseball, Inc.
Carole, a resident of Lehigh County, is married and has 2 children. In her free time, she is the “team mom” for her son’s tournament baseball team, enjoys cooking, spending time with her family and friends, and is an avid NY Giants, NY Yankees and Penn State football fan. Carol is a verified Google Author
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