Today, over 21% of Americans are caregivers, having provided care to their spouses, partners, and siblings with special needs at some time in the past 12 months. This totals an estimated 53 million adults in the United States, up from the estimated 43.5 million caregivers in 2015. As a caregiver, you must make time to care for yourself in order to provide good care for your loved one. It is important to recognize your own needs as a caregiver and to ask for help when needed.
What’s it like to be a caregiver
Caregivers are highly dedicated to their loved ones. They give an incredible amount of time, effort, and focus to their family members. Sometimes, your loved one will have different or more complex needs as time goes on, so being flexible is also an essential part of being a caregiver. You look out not only for their medical care but also for their emotional health, which can involve anything from assisting with hygiene, meal time, medications, running errands, or even just keeping your loved one company.
Being a caregiver may involve a routine, but no two days are the same. Furthermore, care is often gradually adapted to the specific needs of the person they are caring for.
The decision to become, or in some cases remain, a caregiver, is one that should be given careful consideration. If you decide to take on the role of a caregiver for a loved one, there are some basic tips that will help you get started.
4 Things Every New Caregiver Should Know
- Communication is the key to a good experience — for caregivers and clients alike.
Good communication will always be essential at home, both for the caregiver and for the family members. Communication must be widespread and clear, not only in your relationship with your loved one but also with the rest of the family. It must be ensured that everyone knows the process that is being carried out and, most importantly, that everyone is satisfied with it. For example, critical tasks like medication, meals, and hygiene should always be communicated clearly.
- Taking care of your physical health is important.
Burnout can occur if you put in a lot of effort and neglect your own needs. It is important not to neglect your health and to seek measures to prevent this from happening.
Some examples may be:
- Have a good diet.
- Sleep the right hours.
- Exercise regularly.
- When necessary, take breaks.
- Talk to someone like a therapist, a friend, or even join a support group.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help, including hiring a caregiver for the times you’re not available.
- Be prepared for changes.
You probably already know that as a caregiver, you might have to help your loved one with basic needs like eating, dressing, and moving around, such as from the bed to a chair. You may also be ready to help with tasks like running errands and serving as a companion for your loved one. However, it’s important to also understand that as your loved one’s health changes, their needs may change. It’s wonderful for both you and your loved one to get in a rhythm with a routine, however, be prepared to adapt to changes, which may include anything from medication to your loved one’s ability to communicate.
- Patience matters.
Know that some days will be easier than others. On hard days you must be very patient not only with your family but also with yourself. For example, there may come a time when your loved one will regress and remind you more of a child than an adult. . They may begin to need help with just about everything. When you find yourself in this situation, remember that you were once a child who needed help, and you too will age and face health difficulties. There will be days when your loved one does not feel emotionally well, they will not follow the routine, or simply, they just won’t want to get out of bed. In all these cases, patience must be essential. We all need love, support, and patience all throughout our lives.
Almost everyone will be a caregiver at some point in his or her life. Being able to provide your loved one with good, dependable, and consistent caregiving support can have a significant impact on your well-being. While it can be challenging and demanding, it can also be rewarding and fulfilling.
If you find that you need additional support, consider in-home help. 24/7 Nursing Care, Inc. is a leading coordinator of nursing care and companion referral services for individuals who want to remain independent and outside of a nursing home setting. We understand that some people wish to stay close to their loved ones or don’t want to move somewhere unfamiliar or too clinical. Whether you live at home, in a retirement community, or someplace similar, care providers will come to you instead.
We refer excellent nursing and companion services for our clients, some like:
- Alzheimer’s and dementia referral services.
- Certified nursing assistant referral service.
- Companion care referral service for seniors.
- Home health aide referral service
- Licensed practical nurse referral service
- Psychiatric care referral services
- Registered nurse referral services
- Senior care referral services
For more information on our services or to schedule a free consultation, please call (786) 518-3622 in Miami-Dade County or (954) 949-1332 in Broward County.
(2021). 10 Things All Caregivers Should Know. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.alegrecare.com/single-post/2018/05/13/New-to-Home-Caregiving-10-Things-All-Caregivers-Should-Know