Guide For First Timers
Caregiving is not easy but it’s probably one of the most complicated roles you’ll ever play but you do get the satisfaction of helping someone. Most caregivers experience mixed emotions as they have very little control over what happens and often experience feelings of resentment and frustration about the loss of privacy. This guide is aimed to help first time caregivers, it includes advice, resources and checklists. We hope this guide helps you get organized and make the process easier for both you and your loved one. Finally, remember: Just take it one step at a time.
Step – 1
Anticipate and Plan
When it comes to your parents or anyone close to you; plan a conversation. Don’t wait for a sudden illness or a critical diagnosis to take you by surprise. Plan caregiving at an early stage. Talk to your loved ones about their views and wishes, preferences and finances.
Step – 2
Don’t try to handle all the responsibilities of caregiving yourself. Talk to other family members, friends, and professional caregivers. Assign roles to whoever is willing to help, usually other family members and friends. It is also important to engage an unrelated mediator to manage disagreements and resolve any difficult issues.
Step – 3
Make a Plan
Sit with other members of your family and develop a short term and a long-term plan. This includes financial planning as well as determining role each of you play. Also, gather all medical records in one place as it will help you respond more quickly during an emergency. In case, you have to do everything yourself, consider engaging a part time caregiver.
Sometimes, hands-on caregiving tasks, such as bath or toileting can be uncomfortable. Check if any other member can help or consider hiring assistance.
Tasks that can be shared or delegated:
- who will take care medical appointments
- who will prepare meals
- who will step in when the primary caregiver is away
- who will keep tabs on all expenses
Set up an email or WhatsApp group to keep everyone up to date, this will help you stay organized and focused.
Step – 4
Care for Your Loved One
Choosing between your own career, children, spouse and taking care of a parent often becomes a challenge for caregivers. Source products that lighten the caregiver’s workload and help your loved one remain safe and independent.
Some products that you might consider:
- All-in-one commode wheelchair (can be used as a commode, bathing, and as wheelchair.)
- Adult diapers
- Bathroom safety products like grab bars, anti-slip mats, shower chairs, commode rail etc.
- Mobility products like Wheelchairs, walker, walking sticks
Step – 5
As a primary caregiver, ask your doctor or medical assistant to train you on day to day procedures such as sugar level tests, nebulization or dressing a wound.
Step – 6
Caregiving can be a complex role but try to be organized with health records, filling prescription and storing all emergency numbers in phone and in a notebook as well. Also, check out sources for ambulances, medicines, doctors who make house calls, medical oxygen suppliers and hospitals near you.
Step – 7
Take care for yourself
Caregiving can be highly stressful. Add loss of sleep, poor eating habits and lack of exercise can affect your health indirectly. Always, take care of yourself first; engage in activities that you find relaxing. Remember, caregiving is a long haul and you’ll need to stay fit physically and mentally to care for others.
Finally, take care of your personal finances, paying for medical expenses, missing out work, passing up promotions, are all going to take a toll. Keep a record of all expenses and share it with others in your family.