Tips For Caregivers
an aging loved one can be a overwhelming responsibility.
Meeting the emotional and medical needs of a loved one, plus having the time to devote to your own needs and interests, can be difficult.
Here are some tips to help you cope.
Find out where your loved one keeps financial information, including investments,
bank accounts and tax returns. Find out names of lawyers, bankers and accountants.
Also, locate life insurance policies, birth certificates, and funeral arrangements
Medical. Find out name and phone number of all physicians and prescribed medications. Also, find social security and Medicare cards.
the physician about your loved one's diagnosis as well as prognosis. Ask
what you can expect in the future.
Spend time in the library conducting your own research. Also, contact local agencies, such as the Alzheimer's Association, Cancer Society and Arthritis Foundation. These organizations have myriad literature and information available. They can be a great resource for future problems you may encounter.
all family members have the same information that you do. If possible,
involve your loved one in this discussion. Find out what your loved one's
wishes are in regard to her care and living situations.
Find out what your family members can do to help. Even out-of-state relatives can help.
Based on your loved one's wishes and the availability of family members, develop a plan of care. For instance, who will help Mom with her groceries? Who will help Mom bathe and dress in the morning? Who will take Mom to her doctors' appointments?
No one person can take on all the responsibilities. Programs and assistance may be available to you. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging and your state's Department of Aging.
time regularly so you can pursue your own interests and hobbies. Caregiving
is stressful. All caregivers need time away--it's good for the patients
Attend a support group regularly. Or, find an outlet for you to vent your frustrations, such as to friends and families, or in your daily journal.
hands-on techniques, such as transferring safely, proper skin care and
lifting properly. Ask your home health aides or visiting nurses to show
you the proper techniques. Or, attend a caregiving class offered in your
community. Your local American Red Cross office may have information about
Purchase a diary you can use to log your care recipient's health. Make notes about meal consumption, techniques that worked, when medication was dispensed and any changes in medical condition. This journal will be helpful during doctor appointments and when other family members ask for updates.
Determine at what point you can no longer care for your loved one, or at what point you feel she will be unsafe in her own home. For instance, some family caregivers determine that when their loved one is incontinent they can no longer care for her.
Seek out the options available in your community that will be appropriate when you can no longer care for your loved one. Visit several retirement centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes to find one that you are comfortable with and that can provide the appropriate level of care.
Although your loved one may seem to be acting "childish", she is not a child. Respect her need for independence and choices. Encourage her to do as much for herself as possible--you'll both benefit.
experience and knowledge. The best resource for family caregivers is other
Alzheimer's Outreach http://alzheimers.zarcrom.com
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