Getting started with caregiving if you’ve never done so before can be an eye-opening experience. No one wants to start off on the wrong foot, so these tips can help you to feel as if you’re approaching caregiving proactively right from the very beginning.
Learn as Much as Possible about Your Senior’s Status
If you’ve only been helping your senior in a peripheral sort of way, you might not feel as if you have a full idea of her overall health. It might be time for you to get to know her doctor and to establish a relationship with anyone else who helps her to manage her health. Ask questions until you understand and don’t be afraid of speaking up. You need to have as much information as possible so that you can make the right decisions now and down the road.
Figure out Which Family Members Can Do What
You might be the default primary family caregiver, but that doesn’t mean that other family members don’t want to help or aren’t able to help. It’s a good idea to get a handle on who can help out some now when you’re still learning the ropes yourself. Even if all you need right now is someone to listen when you’re feeling overwhelmed, that matters.
Get Some Outside Support Lined Up
Something else that can help is to start thinking now about hiring home care services. These services give you experienced help when you need it most. The home care providers you’ll meet have experience dealing with all sorts of situations, which can be incredibly helpful to you as you learn where you need to put the majority of your time and your energy. They can also help you to start out right by taking time away from caregiving now rather than waiting until you’re overwhelmed by stress.
What Else Do You Need?
You’re going to need other types of support, as well. Support groups for caregivers are an excellent idea, but that can feel intimidating when you’re new to caregiving. Online support groups might be a good way to get your feet in the door with that idea, especially if you’ve never attended support group meetings before. You might also want to start researching which agencies in your area help older adults. You may not need them now, but that information gives you a head start later.
You’re going to learn a lot during your time as a caregiver. You might be surprised at how much you already know, too. Just remember that all of this is because you love your senior and you care about what happens to her.