Senior Home Care Blog - Thousand Oaks

Are You New to Caregiving? Read This!

By George and Patricia Jones

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As a home care expert for a loved one or a patient, you’re going to have to handle several responsibilities, and if you’re new to caregiving. it may seem overwhelming. In spite of the challenges however, caregiving is an emotionally rewarding experience, and there are things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable for you and the one you’re caring for.

Learn Your Patient’s Condition
A lot of the challenges involved with in-home care can be avoided by learning as much as you can about the disability or illness your patient is going through. The more you know about their condition, the more prepared you will be and the less stressful the situation becomes. By simply being knowledgeable about the situation your patient or loved one goes through, you’ll be in a better position to handle the circumstances and take the appropriate action.

Reach Out to Other Home Care Professionals
The best way to learn what caregiving is about is to reach out to those who have been there. Talk to other caregivers in your community or online and they will be more than happy to share their experiences and offer advice to you. There is nothing more comforting than knowing there are people out who care about you and what you have to go through.

Trust Your Instinct
You’ll want to follow the advice of your patient’s doctor, but at the same time, listen to what your instinct tells you what has to be done. You have been trained for this, so feel confident to do what must be done. Even if you’re new to the job, your training will serve as your guide for handling unexpected situations as they arise, and this will serve you well going forward.

Allow Independence
Allow your loved one or patient to be independent. While you’re the caregiver, that doesn’t mean you should do everything for them: it’s better to help and encourage them to be as independent as they possibly can. This isn’t so much to simplify your task as it is to give confidence to your loved one they can still do things without requiring assistance. Just as young people love independence, so do the elderly. Bottom line: your relationship is key to success, so apply strategies and approaches that will improve it.

Be Aware of Your Limitations
Home health care can be stressful so do an honest assessment of your capabilities. How much time can you provide to your loved one without succumbing to stress? You can only take care of them if you take care of yourself, so don’t push yourself over the limit. Before starting, talk with the family and make it clear what your responsibilities and limitations are. This needs to be cleared up not just with family members but their doctors and everyone else involved.

Don’t Doubt Yourself
Caring for seniors can produce a wide range of emotions including grief, helplessness, guilt, resentment, fear and anger. As someone who’s new to caregiving, you need to accept that this comes with the territory: accept those emotions whether they’re positive or negative. Having those negative feelings doesn’t mean you don’t care for them; only that you’re a human being with emotions.

Coping with Worry and Anxiety
It’s okay to feel worried or anxious: even those who’ve been caregiving for a long time still go through this. There are a thousand and one things probably going through your mind, but remember you’ve been prepared for this.

There will be days when you will feel resentful of your job or even the individual you’re caring for. This is illogical of course, so just remember that it’s related to stress and can be overcome. Caregiving is no different from other types of jobs where there are good days and bad ones, and in time you’ll learn how to deal with it.

At the other end of the spectrum is guilt: you may feel that you’re not doing enough for your loved one and that you can be better. Just as you should accept the fact negative emotions will affect you, accept too there’s only so much you can do.

As someone who is into senior care, just do your best and it will be enough.

If you have any questions regarding caregiving, please feel free to call us or send us an email.

Home Helpers of Thousand Oaks is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard, Moorpark, Malibu, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Lake Sherwood, Newbury Park, Oak Park, North Ranch, Pacific Palisades, Westlake Village, Simi Valley, Woodland Hills, Topanga, and Somis.