a loved one
Congratulations! You have family or friends who love you and who want to assist you so that your life is easier.
You, the loved one!
Congratulations! You have family or friends who love you and who want to assist you so that your life is easier. Sometimes it’s not easy to give up independence, but do know that your caregiver(s) mean(s) well and that they are also struggling to keep you comfortable and to balance their caregiving role with other life aspects. You are definitely a TEAM now, and need to take care of its members for the wellbeing of all.
Guidelines for the caregiver
Assisting a loved one who needs support requires dedicated commitment and can be for a long period of time. Based on the link(s) below, you can find some guidelines to help you care for your loved one and for yourself.
Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is! You may have not yet realized it but, in order to do this job well, you need support from other caregivers, take care of your own health, and accept offers of help.
Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone! Join in-person and online support groups and forums. Update your family to diminish burden and depression.
CARE GIVER ACTION FORUM
Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one. Caregivers need to pay attention to burnout, exhaustion, and other physical or emotional symptoms affecting our health and well-being. Create balance between caring for you and caring for others by:
- Getting exercise — beneficial for both your physical and mental wellbeing. The following link provides ideas about exercising and enjoying a good sleep. AARP Caregiver Balance-Time for Exercise
- Getting regular check-ups and not ignoring possible symptoms of ill health
- Taking a break from caregiving — frequent respite time is crucial
Caregiver Action – Respite, Time Out for you
- Getting a flu shot and taking vitamin supplements
- Laughing with a friend or two
Watch for signs of depression such as sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, anxiety, lack of energy, interrupted sleep, appetite disturbances, difficulty concentrating, and suicide thoughts. Don’t delay getting professional help when you need it!
To help gauge what feelings you may be experiencing and if they relate to depression, take this depression self-assessment screening:
Health America – Depression Screening Tool
The following link shares some stress-relieving tips:
AARP’s Caregiver Stress Management Tips
Meditating is also a helpful way to find peace and balance:
A useful meditation link.
Accept offers of help: Don’t feel guilty about admitting that you need help! It is impossible to go it alone. Caregiving is made up of many individual tasks, so create a list of all of the things that need to get done — cooking meals, mowing the lawn, filling out insurance forms, driving your care recipient to the doctor, helping her dress. Once you have your list of tasks, group them into distinct categories — personal care, household chores, transportation, other— and ask family, friends, and paid caregivers (if possible) for help. Suggest specific things people can do to help you!
Managing your time
If you work outside the home, you must balance your job obligations with caregiving. Your employer-based support policies and programs may include benefits which can help manage your time, such as medical or family leaves, advising with specialists, flexible work hours or working from home.
The following link may be useful:
AARP’s juggling work and caregiving tips.
Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors and healthcare providers.
Check out this 24-minute video for specific tips and skills on how to effectively advocate for your care recipient:
Caregiver Resources – How to talk to your doctor.
Organize medical information so it is up-to-date and easy to find. Create a patient file checklist containing the patient’s medical history, medications list, insurance information, and legal documents. Here are some useful tips:
Caregiver Patient File Checklist
Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one. These informative caregiving instructional videos will show you how to best care for them at home: Caregiver Videos on New Technologies.
Technology can help with your caregiving responsibilities. For example, you can use technology to help track medications, manage your loved one’s asthma via your phone or use a GPS locator if your loved one wanders off. The following link might help you sort through this new and perhaps daunting world of high-tech products and services in a way that makes sense for the family caregiver:
Make sure legal documents are in order
If you are managing your loved one’s finances, read this article to ensure that you have access to key legal documents:
Legal Documents Checklist
Be organized and have quick access to the following documents: power of attorney, will, trusts, recurring receipts, mortgage payments, property declarations, loan agreements, stock and bond certificates, retirement benefit statements, bank account information and other investments, insurance and health policies, social or disability insurance, other
insurance (life, housing, automobile), medical records and tax returns.
Caregiving Family Care
Caregiver State List
- In Spanish:
LGBT Aging Center
- Department of Rehabilitation Services State Union on Aging
- Fact sheets on:
Medicare Changes for Transgender Older Adults
Marriage, Medicare and Medicaid: What Same-Sex Couples Need to Know
Accessing Information on Medicare Benefits for LGBT People