Becoming a caregiver often means making big changes in your own life. You might be
helping an aging parent or ailing loved one with cooking, cleaning, keeping track
of medicine, getting to doctor’s appointments, and more.
It’s a lot to take on, so you may feel a bit overwhelmed at first. The tips below
can help you adjust to your challenging new role.
Learn how to care for your loved one properly. At times, you may need to learn new
skills, such as how to give injections or prepare a special diet. If you have questions,
don’t hesitate to ask your loved one’s health care team. Some hospitals offer classes
for family members.
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Make a list of tasks that need to be done. Then
when others offer to help, let them choose which tasks they would like to be responsible
Explore options for paid help as well. Some people just need a hand with daily activities,
such as housekeeping or cooking. Others need home health care services, such as nursing
or physical therapy. Check out whether your loved one is eligible to have some of
these costs covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance.
Be realistic about what you expect of yourself. Try not to feel guilty about those
days when you’re frustrated and cranky. Many people would feel the same way if they
were in your shoes. Share your feelings with someone you trust. Consider joining a
caregiver support group.
Make your personal health a priority. Stay physically active, eat healthy foods, and
get enough sleep. Find time for friends and fun. And don’t neglect your own medical
checkups and screenings. To be at your best as a caregiver, you need to take care
of yourself, too.