6 Ways to Prepare for Family Caregiving

Date:

October 3, 2023

Prepare for Family Caregiving

Caregiving can be a scary and overwhelming responsibility. Whether you’re going to become a caregiver soon or are already caring for an older adult, you’ll likely benefit from these tips. Here are six practical tips that help you prepare for family caregiving and feel more confident in the role.

Preparing for caregiving helps you and your older adult
If you find yourself in a position where caregiving for a loved one is imminent, you might be feeling anxious or flat-out overwhelmed when thinking about how to best prepare. Understandably, taking on such a big responsibility can be scary, even if you are fortunate enough to have the time and resources. Preparing to be a caregiver will not only benefit your loved one but also ensure that you can take care of yourself throughout this demanding, yet fulfilling, journey. There are many resources and solutions to explore that will help you be successful. 

1. Learn about their health conditions and care needs
When you are someone’s caregiver, it is both helpful and important to educate yourself about their specific needs. Set yourself up for success by understanding their medical conditions and understanding common symptoms and treatments. Talking with their current care team can also give you valuable insights. Plus, having this knowledge will help you feel more confident in providing effective care and making informed decisions in the future.

2. Plan ahead for potential financial and legal needs
Caregiving often involves financial and legal considerations, which many people do not realize beforehand. Unfortunately, this can lead to a mess of stress later on. A good place to start is by going over your loved one’s financial situation, including their income, savings, insurance coverage, retirement accounts, and any other benefits they might be eligible for. You can also consult a financial advisor or an elder law attorney to ensure you are making wise decisions and have the needed legal documentation in place, like power of attorney. Especially in situations where declining cognitive ability is of concern, taking care of these tasks sooner than later is critical.

In order to avoid issues with other family members and make sure everyone is on the same page, be sure to discuss any financial decisions you might make before doing so.

3. Adjust your living space as needed
Whether your loved one will be living with you or in their own home, examine the living space and make necessary modifications to accommodate their needs and increase safety. Rearranging furniture to create a more accessible environment is an inexpensive way to improve safety and comfort. You may also want to install grab bars, stairlifts, or ramps for mobility challenges.

4. Set up a self-care plan for yourself
Taking care of yourself is good for your own health and also enables you to provide better care to your loved one. Caregiver burnout is more common than many of us realize, and it can lead to a host of other issues if left unattended. Don’t neglect your emotional health; you will end up paying the price for it later on down the line. An effective way to combat caregiver stress and burnout is to create a plan for your own self-care and mental health. There are many ways to accomplish this. Some examples are to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious meals, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. Plus, take the time to participate in activities that bring you joy as well as relaxation.

5. Make an action plan for care
As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Making a care plan will help you stay organized and make it easier for others to help provide care. In this care plan, you will want to include a daily routine, key health issues, medication schedules, doctors’ appointments and contact info, emergency contacts, and any other important information. Having a clear plan in place allows other family members or backup caregivers to step in if needed and ensures nothing gets overlooked.

6. Use the resources at hand
There are community and government-based programs available to help lighten some of your load. This might include home health care agencies, respite care programs, transportation services, and even just general support groups. Government organizations, like the Department of Aging or Veterans Affairs, can provide information and assistance as well. Being aware of the wealth of available resources can lighten the caregiving load and enhance the quality of care you are able to provide.

Source: DailyCaring.com Blog


We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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