Becoming a full-time caregiver for a loved one is no easy task and you will likely feel overwhelmed, especially if you have no experience in elderly care. Luckily, there are a few simple tips that will make your new position as a caregiver easier on both you and your loved one.
1. Research Your Options
The best way to prepare for family caregiving is by making a plan before the situation calls for it. Ask your aging loved one what type of care they would prefer while they’re still healthy. This way, you have plenty of time to explore your options before your family member gets sick or cannot be left home alone.
Depending on your loved one’s preference, you will have to prepare for the role as family caregiver, look into a private nurse, or research nursing home facilities. Helpful organizations like the AARP, the Family Caregiver Alliance, and the Administration on Aging will provide caregiving information that could be useful to you.
It is understandable that you would feel worried and overwhelmed as a first-time caregiver, but any additional prep work will help relieve these feelings. Just know that you have so many resources available to you, such as healthcare organizations and veteran caregivers.
2. Plan Ahead
Now that you know which option your loved one favors, it is time to consider how to plan for it financially and legally. Unfortunately, your loved one’s choices could be limited by what they can afford so you need to explore other options or brainstorm ways to raise the necessary amount of money. It may be beneficial to chat with a money managing professional, social worker, or caregiver association.
It is also smart to pay a visit to local caregiving facilities and/or nursing homes before your elderly loved one needs to move in. There are many things to consider when picking out the right assisted living facility, such as location, price, and your loved one’s personal preferences. For this reason, it is best to get started early so you are well prepared when the time comes for your loved one to move into a nursing home.
3. Accept Help
The most important thing to remember as a family caregiver is that you’re not alone. There are plenty of resources if you need any tips, advice, or just someone to talk to. Organizations like the Red Cross can provide helpful information and support from experienced caregivers. If you prefer a more intimate experience, you may enjoy a caregiver’s support group where you can share questions and concerns with people in your community in a similar situation.
Caregiving is rewarding, but it can also be very emotionally taxing due to all the difficult decisions you must make. It is important to have a support group, so create a network of friends and family before you need help. This way, you have a list of people to call for support in an emergency or just to help deal with a tough situation.
Also, don’t be afraid to accept help from outside sources. It can be difficult to step back and work with a home care agency do but try to be open. If you reject offers of help too flippantly, they will stop coming and you may be left overwhelmed with the amount of responsibility to bear.
4. Remember Self Care
Caregiving is a full-time job and often a thankless one, so don’t forget to make time for yourself. Practicing self-care is not only about physical health – it involves maintaining your mental and emotional well-being as well. This means taking time to relax and do things you enjoy like taking a bath, reading a book, or getting some exercise.
It is important to continue your hobbies and express yourself creatively because these are key components to your identity. It can be easy to lose yourself when your daily life is consumed by caring for another person, so be sure to hold on to personal things that remind you who you are.
5. Do It with Love
Never forget that the reason you became a full-time family caregiver is because of your desire to help your aging loved one. It can be easy to be consumed by the difficulties of caregiving because it is a demanding job, but it can also be a rewarding experience if you do it with love for your loved one or family member who needs help aging gracefully.
Remember, there is no wrong way to care for your loved one and as long as you provide help with love, you’ll never regret becoming a caregiver.
Get a Free Quote for Home Care
Providing senior home care is a rewarding and difficult full-time job, so if you ever feel like you need additional help, don’t hesitate to call Assisting Hands Home Care at (954) 644-7276 for respite care in the Hollywood, FL area.