Things to Know as a New Caregiver
As a new caregiver you may need to start off with two tough questions for yourself.
- Can your loved one stay in their home with your support?
- Can you provide care to your loved one without denying attention to others in your family?
As you embrace your journey here are a few thing to keep in mind.
- Check for safety. Do an assessment to identify risks within the home and modify the environment and create a safe and accessible space for your loved one
- Create a plan. Connect with your local fire department and police station about File of Life a document with special instructions and vital information that will help during a medical emergency
- Don’t go at it alone. Delegate tasks to family, friends, and neighbors who are willing to help to lighten the workload with specific tasks (get groceries, drive to appointment, do laundry, etc)
- Utilize in your community. Identify your local Agency on Aging for resources available in the community such as meals on wheels.
- Bring in professional help. Look into local Home Health Agencies to provide care assistance
- Consider other care settings. Locate some Adult Day Centers where your loved one can socialize and be safe
- Learn about respite. Nearby respite options can be a good solution if you need short term care. Your doctor, and the Area Agency on Aging can assist with this
- Check in with yourself often. Identify when you are feeling frustrated, angry, tired, or stressed then create strategies to help with those feelings – count to 10, listen to music, breathe, call a friend, etc.
- Know when to ask for help and reach out. Have a backup plan for additional support if you need a break or for unexpected emergencies.
- Practice good self-care. Create a time out for yourself to recharge with something you enjoy
- Join a support group online or in person. You are not alone, many caregivers have the same feelings and talking through them can be very supportive