First Time as a Caregiver

A member of your family just got the bad news. They have been diagnosed with an illness that will eventually require full time care. It’s your loved one and you want to be the one providing the care. But you are probably beset by nagging questions as to your ability to handle the task.
Most likely your new role as caregiver was unexpected. Suddenly your ‘normal’ life is changed.Being a caregiver can be a stressful and demanding responsibility, but it can also be a rewarding experience. Following are some tips to make your transformation to caregiver as easy as possible.
Learn all you can
Take advantage of the resources available to learn all you can about your loved ones condition or illness. Local branches of national organizations such as the Cancer Society or Alzheimer’s Association are spread throughout the country and are more than willing to help you. Educate yourself on your loved ones conditions and needs through books, videos, and the internet. The more knowledge you acquire, the less anxiety you will feel about your new role.
Don’t expect too much of yourself at once
If your transition to caregiver is a gradual one, it gives both you and your loved one time to adjust to the new role.  This will also help you to transition into your new ‘normal.’ If you are suddenly cast into the role of caregiver, don’t expect you are going to get everything right at first. Even though you may be armed with the best knowledge and support behind you, it will still take you some time to adjust.
Make a plan
Based on the needs and circumstances of your loved one, you will need to make a plan and discuss it with others that may help. Talk with your loved ones doctor about what you should do now and what to expect as time goes on. They will offer valuable information and insights and put you in touch with community resources you can use.
If possible, enlist the help of other family members. Schedule them for times that will allow you to take a break from your responsibilities. Family members may not be able to fit in long hours at a time, but they can help with other tasks such as errands, transportation to doctor visits, meal preparation, or other household chores.
Talk with others that have been where you are
You may feel like it at times, but you are not alone. Literally millions of other family caregivers are going through the same thing as you. Speak with others that have been in your shoes. They will help you with decisions and point you to resources in your community you may not be aware of.
Take time off for yourself
If you don’t take time off to care for yourself you won’t be effective at taking care of someone else. Schedule regular breaks for yourself. Plan on taking at least half an hour each day doing something for yourself. This could include reading, meditating, gardening or anything else that helps you relax and rejuvenate.Then at least once each week, schedule at least several hours out of the house.
Take advantage of community resources
Look into organizations in your community that can help you such as Meals on Wheels or home care agencies. Speak with your loved one’s doctor for a list of available resources. Your local medical supply store may have equipment or devices that would benefit your loved one. In addition, seek out local, state, or federal programs that may offer support or financial aid.
About the author:

Frank Nielson is a retired medical researcher who now spends his days writing. Through his writing, he is keen on helping consumers find the best medical supplies at an affordable price.

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