Some family caregivers have raised children and have an idea of what caring for another person is like. If you’re completely new to it, you’ll find yourself with a lot of questions and concerns and no clue where to start finding answers. Experienced family caregivers recommend using these tips to get started.
Get Paperwork and Permissions in Place ASAP
When you’re a family caregiver, you’ll likely be managing a lot of your parents’ appointment scheduling. You’re also going to be the one that takes them to and from medical appointments.
Get paperwork in place as quickly as you can. Your parents’ doctors cannot speak to you unless HIPAA privacy paperwork is properly filled out. A medical power of attorney helps with decision making if your parents can’t speak for themselves.
Rely on Friends and Family
Talk to close friends and family members. If others can stay with your parents from time to time, it will help you out. Caregiving can be very demanding work. You don’t want to have so much to do that you get overwhelmed.
Join a Support Group
Carers need to be able to vent. Sometimes, family members don’t cut it. You’ll find that the best way to vent your frustrations, fears, and stresses is by finding a group of people in your shoes. A support group is ideal. You’ll find several great groups online and others in local churches, senior centers, and hospitals.
Don’t Let Nutritional Needs Slip
After a long day of cooking and cleaning for your parents, you may not be in a mood to cook. You stop and get fast food, pizza, or Chinese. Over time, the poor nutritional content is going to drag you down.
Instead of relying on takeout meals, work on quick and healthy meals. You can prep the items on slower days and have them in the freezer. Before you leave for your parents, pull out the items you need and have them thawing while you’re away.
Prioritize Daily Tasks
Prioritize the important tasks and get those done first. Anything that’s left can be completed by yourself or others as there is time. Things that are most important are medication reminders, personal care and hygiene, meals, and keeping up with appointments.
Leave an Hour a Day for Yourself
Do not ignore your own needs. Try to guarantee that you have an hour to yourself. During that hour, shut others and distractions out and read a book, play a game, watch your favorite show, take a bath, or go for a walk. Do whatever relaxes you or helps you release stress.
Hire Elder Care Services
Elder care should be the first thing every family caregiver discusses with the family. You may not need elder care services every day, but there will be times you need to rely on professional caregivers. If you have a bad cold, you should be at home resting. A caregiver can take over while you recuperate.