Some family caregivers become caregivers gradually, taking on a task here and there as an older adult’s health declines. Others become caregivers suddenly when an aging relative suffers a major health event, such as a heart attack or stroke. Regardless of how their caregiver journey started, many people feel ill-equipped to take on the role. If you are a new caregiver, below are some tips that can make the job a little easier.
Take Care of You First
Many caregivers get so wrapped up in take care of their older family member that they forget to take care of themselves. They skip regular medical care, eat poorly, and don’t find time to exercise. That can put your own health on a downward spiral, which could lead to serious illness. If you become seriously ill, you won’t be able to care for your aging relative. Stay healthy by setting boundaries and protecting your personal time. Make your regular doctor and dentist appointments and keep them. Find ways to fit healthy meal preparation into your schedule rather than grabbing fast food or skipping meals altogether. Schedule time to exercise into every day.
Learn to Accept Help
Some caregivers think they should be able to do everything on their own. When they cannot keep up, they think they are failing. Instead of beating yourself up over the things you can’t do, celebrate all the good you are able to do for your aging relative. Without you, they might have to move to a long-term care facility. To make things easier, learn how to accept help when it is offered. It can help to make a list of the things you are comfortable letting someone else do, such as cooking meals or grocery shopping. Then, when someone asks if they can help, you’re prepared to say, “Yes, and here is what I could use help with.”
Education is Key
If your older family member has a particular condition, like diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease, learning as much as you can about it can help you to be more prepared. There are plenty of good resources on the Internet. You can also ask the older adult’s doctor for literature on the condition. Take a trip to the library and find some books to read. If your library doesn’t have the book you want, ask if they can get it for you from another library. Depending on the senior’s condition, you may also be able to find free seminars to attend.
Bring in Home Care
Even if you find yourself capable of caring for your elderly loved one now, their needs will probably become more extensive as time goes on. Consider starting home care now to help you provide the care your parent needs and to offer you some respite time. Starting now may help your senior acclimate to the idea of having a new person in their home on a regular basis. Home care providers can provide companionship, meal preparation, light cleaning, mobility assistance and more.
If you or an aging loved one is considering caregivers in Spotswood, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care today. Call (732) 607-8870.