Do you have a loved one in your family who needs immediate help? Are you planning to take responsibility for your loved one? Do you also have kids and a regular job? If some or all the answers to these questions are in affirmation, welcome to the world of caregiving. Yes, many people like you suddenly become caregivers of their parents, kids, partners, and relatives. Some people are thrust into this role of caregiving almost overnight! So, for first–time caregivers, things can be quite frustrating. Here are the 7 helpful caregiving tips for people like you.
1. Start a conversation
Before you step into the role of a caregiver, have a conversation with other family members. You can also involve your loved one who needs care in this conversation.
You must know beforehand whether that person wants you as his or her caregiver or not. Maybe your loved one is more willing to move into an assisted living community. If that person is elder than you, he or she might refuse because of a fear of an impending role reversal. Also, you need to talk to other family members about the kind of help that they can provide when you become the primary caregiver of that person who is currently in need of care.
You can’t delegate tasks effectively among the rest of the family members if you don’t have a transparent conversation at an early stage of your caregiving journey.
2. Conduct a thorough research
It is essential to know about the exact health condition of your loved one. Whether your loved one is suffering from a chronic disease or a life-threatening one, you must know the health condition. You must know the symptoms, behavioral changes( if any), the kind of diet, the available treatments, and so on for that disease. Having a knowledge of all this necessary information will help you to carry out your new responsibilities.
3. Consider the financial implications
Once you become a family caregiver, there will be some financial implications that you can’t ignore. So, think about the extra expenses such as medicines, transportation for weekly or monthly check-ups, medicinal equipment, assistive devices, caregiver gadgets, and so on. Of these, some expenses may be recurring. Also, if you are working as a regular employee, you may have to look for a part-time job that may further cause a financial problem.
4. Improve time-management skills
When you become a caregiver, you have to devise new caregiving strategies. One that has worked for someone may not work in your caregiving journey. However, effective time-management is quite essential to fulfill all your responsibilities. So, try to improve your existing time management skills.
5. Try to seek support from others
There is a belief among caregivers that they should not seek support from others, especially friends or neighbors. Caregiving is extremely challenging, and if nobody in the home is willing to help you, caregiver burnout is a possibility. Even if someone is offering help to monitor your loved one during weekends for a few hours, don’t say no, as you will then get a much-needed break.
6. Look for caregiver resources
Since you are a new caregiver, you may struggle in the beginning. So always look for caregiver resources in your locality. There might be respite care centers, nursing homes, a group of volunteer caregivers, caregiver facebook communities, caregiver coaching, and much more that you don’t know.
7. Pay attention to self-care
In a bid to become an excellent caregiver, do not overlook your own needs. Eat nutritious food and do some regular exercise or meditation to keep your mind and body fit. Also, try to have enough sleep, or else sleep deprivation may take a toll on your health.
When you are a new caregiver, you may have a lot of apprehensions. However, the right caregiving guidance may help you to overcome all your challenges.