Perhaps you have never planned, or even thought about it, but you’ve suddenly entered the role of a caregiver. You are thrown in the deep end, and you’re struggling to find your feet.
Nobody has told you what to do, and you are not quite sure what is expected of you. You are losing control of your own life and have difficulties pulling yourself together.
If you recognize yourself in the first two paragraphs, then continue to read. We have gathered the essential tips for new caregivers that will help you along the way.
1. Talk About Caregiving in Advance
Don’t let your new role surprise you. Have a conversation with your older adult before there is even a need for caregiving.
Ask them about their wishes once they can’t live independently anymore. Do they wish to stay in their house or move to another facility? What kind of facility would they prefer?
If they want to stay at home, think about hiring a caregiver if you and your family members have a tight schedule.
Estimate the possible costs. Can your budget afford a caregiver or moving your senior to a nursing facility?
2. Find Support
If you are already taking care of your older adult, then focus on all available resources.
You can learn plenty from people who are in a similar situation as you are. In case you don’t know any family caregivers, browse the internet to see if there are caregiver support groups nearby. Go regularly to meetings, and ask others everything you want know.
You can also search for information on the internet. Check out our website, and learn everything you need to know to become a caregiver.
The best would be to consult a physician, though. If you have any doubts, make an appointment and find out the things you are ignorant of.
3. Understand Your Parents
Your older adult is also in a completely new situation. They probably have never felt as powerless as they are feeling now. Fear, anxiety, and depression are quite common.
Listen to what they have to say, and read between the lines. Be calm, even if they are not. Understand the way they feel and all the struggles they have.
4. Seek Help If Needed
If you are the only person taking care of your older adult, and have difficulties managing your life, ask other family members to help you.
With a daily job and kids, it becomes difficult to be around your senior most of the time. Organize a meeting with the whole family, and see if there is anyone willing to give you a hand. They may try to find excuses to avoid caregiving, but make sure they understand the entire situation. If they are afraid because they don’t know how to help, present all the ways to learn the information you need.
5. Take Some Time for Yourself
It is essential to take a rest from time to time. Otherwise, you will end up stressed and suffering from caregiver burnout.
Stress is accumulated over the time and is the biggest enemy of a caregiver.
Never put your life and hobbies aside. Find enough time for yourself and don’t think about caregiving during this time.
If there is no one to step in, find out more about respite care and other services that caregiver agencies offer. Think about hiring a caregiver for some time, and ask your senior for their opinion.
They may be repulsed at the beginning. Try to calmly explain your reasons.
You may also want to check out our article explaining how to introduce a caregiver to an older adult.
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