Community Blog

How to Be the Best Caregiver You Can Be

By Denise Roskamp

How to Be the Best Caregiver You Can Be

Is Caregiving New to You?
If caregiving is new to you, it’s normal to feel some anxiety about your new position and what it may require of you. This article will give you the skinny on what you need to know to be the best caregiver you can be!

Understand the Needs of Your Patient
In-home care is often more difficult if you don’t understand your patent’s condition and that they are going through physically and emotionally. Being fully informed of their disabilities will help you make them more comfortable and lower your stress level. It will also allow you to quickly make decisions concerning getting medical assistance if necessary.

Connect and Get Support
If caregiving is new to you, one of the best things you can do is connect with other caregivers and gain valuable knowledge and advice from them. You can do this through social media groups or by reaching out to caregiving agencies. It always helps to know you are not alone!

Trust Your Instincts
It’s paramount to follow the instructions of the patient’s doctor, but you should also trust your own instinct. Nobody knows the patient quite like the caregiver, so don’t underestimate your own instincts when action needs to be taken.

Provide as Much Independence as Possible
Your loved one or client needs to feel they are still independent as much as possible. Losing that independence is the number one thing patients and loved ones fear most. If there are things they can do for themselves, allow them to do those things, even if it takes a little extra time. Encouraging them to do for themselves will instill confidence in them to remain in control of their own lives. Just the way children need to be allowed to do things on their own, the same is true for the elderly. They don’t want to be treated like children, but they may need some assistance and encouragement.

Be Aware of Your Limitations
Be honest about what you can handle and communicate carefully with the family and doctors involved. Know your limitations, how many hours you can handle before becoming too stressed out, and make sure you don’t overdo it. Everyone is different in what they can deal with, so don’t try to be a hero by pushing yourself beyond your stress level. That will only cause problems for both you and the patient. It’s okay to know your limits!

Coping with Anxiety
Always know that some feelings of anxiety are normal when caregiving. Especially if you are caring for a family member. You may have days where you feel frustrated or even resentful when so much responsibility falls on your shoulders. Support groups are essential, so find one!

When you’ve done all you can do, and the outcome of the day doesn’t go as well as you would like, just remember to resist the temptation to feel guilty. While these feelings are normal, it’s important to realize early on that there will be good and bad days, just like any other job. You will find your rhythm and pace that allows you and your patient or loved one to enjoy this season of life. Caregiving can be stressful at times, but it can also be incredibly rewarding!!

Please contact us for more support or questions you may have!

Home Helpers of MetroWest is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, 24-hour live-in care, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care, Parkinson's care as well as homemaker services in Concord, Framingham, Lincoln, Marlborough, Natick, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland, Wellesley, and Weston, Massachusetts.