Owners' Blog

Preparing to Be a Caregiver

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

Sometimes there is no time to prepare for being a caregiver. You simply find yourself thrust into the role because of a loved one’s sudden illness or injury. However, even when that happens, you can still take some steps to prepare for your future as a caregiver. Below are some things you can do to be a more successful caregiver.

Talk About Care Needs and Wants

Often the best place to start as a caregiver is by having a conversation with the person you are caring for and others who will be involved in caregiving. Find out what the older adult wants and expects in terms of care. Talk to family members and friends about how they can help and what their role will be. Try to come to an agreement about how care will be handled.

Arrange for Help

At the beginning of caregiving, you may think it won’t be so hard and that you can handle it all yourself. However, as time goes on, you may feel differently. Instead of allowing yourself to become burned out, ask for help up front. Arrange for friends and family members to step in and give you at least periodic breaks if not assisting with regular care. You should also consider how home care can help to fill in gaps in the care schedule and give you the break you need.

Make Changes to the House

Depending on the needs of the older adult, you may have to make some changes to the house to allow them to live safely and comfortably. Some things you may wish to do are:

  • Add railings to both sides of stairwells.
  • Put grab bars in the bathroom.
  • Change the tub to a walk-in bath or shower.
  • Remove tripping hazards, like loose rugs and furniture that protrudes into walkways.

If the senior has dementia, you may need to take extra safety precautions to ensure they do not wander or injure themselves with household items or cleaners.

Plan to Continue Taking Care of Yourself

Caregivers often neglect their own health because they become so involved in the health of the person they are caring for. Plan to be mindful of your own health. Make and keep your regular medical appointments. Take time to exercise each week and eat a healthy diet. Make time for hobbies and activities you enjoy. Don’t neglect relationships with friends and family members. Instead, keep in touch with them through social media, phone calls, and spending time with them whenever possible.

Sources
https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/caregiving/2018/02/prepare-to-care-guide-english-aarp.pdf?intcmp=AE-HF-CAR-P2CGD-ENG
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9226-caregivers-successful-caregiving

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Cumming, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.