10 Tips for Caregivers to Start the Year off Right
“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” - Oprah Winfrey
The beginning of the year gives us a chance to make a fresh start and think back on what we did well. Take pride in what you accomplished; 2020 was a difficult year! It required more patience, continual commitment and an almost gymnastic-like adaptability. Congratulate yourself on making it through.
Whether you are new to caregiving, have been doing this for a while or see it in your near future, there are always things that can be learned and improved upon to make both of your lives easier. Keep moving forward even if you feel like you are taking two steps forward and one step back. At least you are moving in the right direction.
Tips for caregivers
- Make sure you are identified and documented on your loved one’s medical records as their caregiver and emergency contact.
- Keep an updated list of your loved one’s medications. Note which worked, which didn’t and if there were any reactions to a drug.
- Keep an updated list of your loved one’s doctors, including name, contact information and when your loved one saw them last. Also include your loved one’s hospitalizations, surgeries and medical procedures.
- Include your loved one in as many care decisions as possible. Be careful not to undermine your loved one’s dignity and autonomy.
- Have necessary legal documents in place:
- Durable power of attorney for finances (POA)
- Durable power of attorney for health care (also known as a Health Care Proxy)
- Living will/advance directive
- Money plays an important part in the choices made about your loved one’s care. You need to understand their finances. Keep a record of bank accounts, retirement funds, investments and Social Security.
- Have a heart-to-heart talk and plan for the unexpected. Know your loved one’s wishes for end-of-life care.
- Learn as much as possible about your loved one’s condition. Talk with your loved one’s doctor, do some Googling, contact national and local groups involved with your loved one’s diagnosis, and learn the progression of the disease. As they say, knowledge is power. The more you know, the better you will be able to anticipate your loved one’s needs and feel more confident.
- Keep up to date with information on caregiving from community agencies such as the Bluegrass Agency on Aging, specialty organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association and other caregivers through local support groups.
- Make a point each day to set aside time to focus on what you want and need for yourself. Self-care is not selfish!
We go into caregiving with a genuine sense of enthusiasm and confidence, but often we end up feeling just the opposite - weary and uncertain. When we get to that point, we need to ask ourselves, “Can I continue to do this?” and “What other care options are there?”
Let UK HR Elder Care help. We can assist you with your caregiving needs by providing information, consultation, support, guidance and referrals.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021,