Being a caregiver can be incredibly rewarding, and at times you may face challenges that you need assistance navigating.
It’s a role that takes time, effort and attention to detail. Sometimes, the role sneaks up on you without warning. A loved one may face a sudden health challenge and an individual may find themselves assisting their loved one with daily tasks.
Caregivers can be hired professionals, or they can be family members. It can be an individual effort or a team one. These duties can be performed in addition to a full-time job, or as a singular focus. Due to the nature of the position, caregivers can feel lost, frustrated, or overwhelmed by their responsibilities.
If you are feeling this way, know that you are not alone. Caregivers must also look after themselves and take care of their emotional well-being. The best care comes from individuals that are prepared, in tune with their emotional and physical wellness and well-informed.
For new caregivers, understanding the needs of the individual that they’re caring for is imperative. It is important to understand their diagnosis so that you know exactly what kind of care they need. By talking to a doctor or doing further research on the subject, you can learn the best steps to take to give great care.
It’s also a good idea to know the actions that you might have to take. For example, if you will be lifting someone out of their wheelchair, it is imperative that you learn how to do so safely and prepare your body to do the task daily.
Lastly, find a community, whether it be a Facebook group or an in-person group. Experienced home caregivers can help you figure out where to find equipment, tackle certain issues and can lend an ear when you’re having trouble.
Stay informed and knowledgeable
For caregivers preparing to look after a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, understanding the conditions and the method of care is crucial to quality, comfortable care. Those with Alzheimer’s and dementia may begin to act differently and lapse into behaviors that require redirection.
When these behaviors occur, it is important to know how to go about stopping the behavior in a manner that promotes grace and understanding. Strategies to utilize in these situations are called redirections strategies. They include taking a calm and confident approach; smiling and making eye contact, with light touches and a relaxed posture; empathizing and avoiding arguments; asking questions and introducing alternative activities.
For those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, special consideration and planning should go into each meal. Caregivers should ensure that their loved one is properly hydrated and eating nutritious meals that they enjoy. Furthermore, caregivers should make sure that these meals follow a regular schedule each day.
Understanding Alzheimer’s disease or dementia gives caregivers the tools that they need to provide their loved one with the best possible care.
You don’t have to go at it alone. Involving family members can increase your support network and help make sure your loved one receives the best possible care.
Family can help you identify resources and navigate some of the more complex parts of caregiving, like legal matters. But they can also lend a helping hand if you’re feeling under the weather or have a prior commitment.
When you act as a primary caregiver, keeping family in the loop is always a sound idea. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and everyone is invested in caring for your loved one. Your loved one will also enjoy having family around to spend quality time with.
Discuss legal matters, healthcare preferences and finances
As a caregiver, you may have to navigate difficult legal processes like wills and power of attorney. Additionally, you may find yourself having to help manage finances and assist in decisions like selling a home or automobile. It is important to talk with your loved one about these subjects so that everyone is on the same page.
There are a lot of things that you must do as a caregiver – practicing law should not be one of them. In order to best understand the complexities and legal nuances surrounding these topics, consider speaking with an elder law attorney or a social worker.
Take care of yourself
Those who provide care often end up feeling stressed, overwhelmed and sometimes depressed. Working in this capacity can be a lot to deal with, and these emotions are completely valid. You want to be there for your loved one and provide the best possible care. In order to do so, you must look after your own health and wellness.
As a caregiver, it is important to take time to yourself, when you can. During this time, you should be active or do something that can lower your stress levels. Being social is also crucial, as many caregivers feel like they are isolated.
When it comes to mental and physical wellness, little things can go a long way. A proper diet, daily exercise and time for self-reflection can lead to lower stress levels, a clearer mind and overall better outcomes.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
As a caregiver, there are things that you may encounter that you don’t know how to deal with. That is okay – everyone has these moments. When they do occur, the best course of action is to ask around and find a solution. You could ask a Facebook group of caregivers, or local medical professionals – it is very likely that someone has been in your situation before and found a solution. Many Sagora Senior Living communities host regularly scheduled caregiver support groups where you can make friends and trade tips.
To find out more, visit your local Sagora Senior Living community’s website and check its calendar.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to explore senior living options. Sagora Senior Living boasts top-notch Assisted Living and Memory Care programs that provide skilled, compassionate care to those that need it, ensuring they live their best possible lives.