Becoming a caregiver to an aging relative can be overwhelming, especially if the job is suddenly thrust on you by an unexpected illness or injury. You may have no idea what is expected of you as a caregiver. You might also have no idea where to start. There’s a lot to learn about being a caregiver. Below are just a few of the things new caregivers need to know.
Have a Conversation with the Senior
If possible, start your caregiver journey by talking to the older adult about the whole situation. Find out what they want for their care and what you can do to help. Explain your own expectations and make your limitations clear. Be sure to include concerns in the conversation, too, both yours and the seniors.
Find Out Where You Can Learn More
New caregivers need to find the time to learn as much as possible about their older relative’s health condition and how to manage it best. They also need to learn some caregiver skills. Find out where you can learn about both of those things. A doctor may be able to give you some literature on the condition or recommend some websites to look at. They may also be able to direct you to classes or seminars for caregivers. You can also call the local senior center or the local Area Agency on Aging.
Don’t expect to handle everything on your own. It’s not good for you and you’ll wear yourself out. Talk to other family members to see if they can take on some of the caregiver duties. Also, delegate smaller tasks to friends and family members who can provide an hour or two of assistance here and there. Ask them to grocery shop, make a meal, or spend an hour with the senior while you do something else. You can also hire help through a home care agency. Home care providers can spend anywhere from a few hours per week to every day with your aging relative, handling all the non-medical tasks that family caregivers do, including cleaning the house, cooking, and reminding the senior to take medicines.
Plan to Continue Your Hobbies
Don’t give up the things that bring you enjoyment. It can be tempting to consider them unimportant and set them aside because you’re busy with caregiver duties, work, and other things. However, you’ll need the things that bring you joy as stress relievers and a way to maintain your sense of identity. If you can incorporate your hobbies into your day as a caregiver, such as by bringing your knitting with you or teaching the senior to participate, then make it a part of your day. Just don’t give it up.
If you or an aging loved one needs a Caregiver in Sacramento, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.