8 Tips to Follow If You’re a New Family Caregiver

Some family members find themselves assuming the role of caregiver for an aging loved one after an emergency occurs, while others may accept responsibility for the role as their loved one’s health gradually decreases. In either case, the job presents several challenges and rewards. If you’ve recently stepped into the position of caregiver, keep the following tips in mind.

1. Obtain Knowledge

You may or may not be aware of all the information regarding your loved one’s medical condition. Stay informed to meet his or her individual needs. Learning as much as possible about caregiving in general is also advised. Consider taking classes provided by the Agency on Aging, the Red Cross, or local educational institutions. 

2. Be Compassionate and Patient

Your loved one may be going through the grieving process due to the development of a serious medical condition or while trying to recover from an illness or injury. There may be times when he or she becomes angry, frustrated, or depressed. In these instances, it is not unusual to exhibit behaviors contrary to the norm. Try to understand the situation from your loved one’s perspective. Show compassion and be patient. 

3. Monitor for Changes in Health 

Spending every day with your loved one can enable you to become familiar with his or her needs and routines. However, being in his or her constant presence may cause you to overlook important nonverbal cues. Your loved one may be reluctant to express changes to lessen your care burden. Monitor his or her condition for signs of pain, increased confusion, or decreased mobility. 

4. Seek Support

The situations family caregivers endure are unique to the position. Relying on other people who have first-hand experience with caregiving is vital. Attending support groups provides the chance to share concerns and gain knowledge from more experienced people. 

5. Avoid Judgment

Regardless of negative emotions or behaviors that may arise while providing care, resist the urge to become judgmental. Remember your loved one has no control over the circumstances of his or her current situation and would likely prefer to be healthy and maintain a high level of independence. Stay calm and offer assistance as needed. 

6. Get Backup

At some point, you may become ill or decide to take a vacation. Make a backup plan before additional help is needed. Visit with other family members and enlist their help. Perhaps consider professional respite home care. La Mesa families can get the help they need by hiring a caregiver from Coast Care Partners.

7. Listen

Regardless of cognitive or physical impairment, your loved one has the right to have his or her opinion heard. Listen to your loved one’s desires and needs, and enable him or her to have a voice in planning his or her care. 

8. Get Organized

Along with providing care, you may also need to manage your loved one’s financial, legal, and medical responsibilities. Visit with other family members or a social worker to determine the best course of action given the circumstances.

If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed while caring for your loved one, consider hiring a professional caregiver. La Mesa, California, seniors and their families can rely on the dedicated caregivers at Coast Care Partners. We provide respite care for family caregivers and help seniors manage the various tasks of daily living. To learn more about our high-quality home care, give us a call today at 619-354-2544.