Advice for New Caregivers

Becoming a new caregiver can be daunting. You may have moved gradually into this role or you may have found yourself stepping up to take care of a loved one in a crisis. Here are few tips to follow to help you transition naturally into the role of caregiver.

Prepare Ahead of Time

In crisis situations, you may not have a lot of time to prepare. However, it is important to have tough conversations with the senior in your life as early as possible. Many adult children wait until their parents are age 70 or older to talk about future care. However, it is better to bring up these topics about expected responsibilities and financial situations as soon as possible. This helps you plan out the level of care you will be able to provide to the senior and also figure out what type of monies are available to subsidize care. You also need to discuss wills and power of attorney early on. Taking the initiative will help you avoid facing the unknown in the future.

Become Informed

The best thing you can do as a new caregiver is to learn everything possible about caring for your senior family member. If the senior has been diagnosed with a particular medical condition, research the condition and reach out to a medical professional to set up a consultation. Work alongside the senior’s medical team to make sure you’re following medical protocols while acting as a caregiver. The healthcare provider could also suggest courses you could take to assist you in learning the basics of proper care giving.

Join a Support Group

When you act as a caregiver, you may find yourself facing frustrations time to time. Not all family members will be supportive or offer up their time for you to vent. You may also feel uncomfortable venting to friends and family. Community support groups are the perfect place to connect with others to talk out your concerns and also solicit advice from those going through similar situations. If you don’t have a local support group, don’t worry. Online support groups are available round-the-clock and are a fantastic place to connect with other caregivers virtually.

Practice Good Self-Care

When you are a caregiver, it’s important to take care of your own needs by getting plenty of rest and eating nutritious meals. Take breaks and participate in activities you enjoy. If a certain task is overwhelming, such as bathing or preparing meals, find someone to assist you. Recognize your limits and know when to take a breather. If you’re noticing increased irritability or have issues sleeping, then you need to re-evaluate your current situation. Sometimes, a vacation is enough to feel renewed and get you ready to jump back into your caregiver role.

Get Help

No one should be a martyr. You have your own life and sometimes the responsibilities of caring for an elderly family member is too overwhelming. Not only should you share care giving responsibilities with other family members, but also consider seeking outside support. Continuing care retirement communities offer a reprieve for both you and your family member. Professionals are on hand to make sure every need is met within a relaxing environment. If a higher level of care is needed in the future, this is an option open to you within the community. Don’t feel you are somehow forfeiting your role as caregiver by having them make the move. Your ongoing love and support will make all the difference. Continuing care communities are welcoming to visitors and are likely to have family-themed activities planned to include everyone during your visits. 

The Cypress of Charlotte can act as a sanctuary to both you and your senior family member. Our award-winning community has a country-club vibe with luxurious amenities to make all residents feel right at home. Onsite healthcare and our home health agency will help address any medical issues. Contact us to learn more or to schedule a tour of our community.