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WHAT IS A FAMILY CAREGIVER? A family caregiver is an unpaid person who cares for relatives or loved ones. They may be caring for members of their family, close friends or neighbors. At some point in our lives many of us will become a family caregiver. Your caregiving journey may be due to a sudden accident or perhaps an illness that has reached the point that your care is needed. Whatever the case may be, the road ahead for you, the caregiver, and your loved one will be smoother if you understand the basics of good caregiving. Below you will find the 3 Rules For Being a Good Caregiver. This will get you started. Go to PolkElderCare.com to continue the journey. RULE NUMBER 1 FOR BEING A GOOD CAREGIVER: IT IS OK TO ASK FOR HELP As a matter of fact, it is the best thing you can do for both your loved one and yourself. Everything else is secondary. Do not feel guilty, or like you have failed if you need assistance. Burnout can happen if you don’t get help. One of the greatest gifts you can give the one you are caring for is the gift of not feeling like they are a burden. Many times care recipients experience guilt about receiving care. “Because of me, she doesn’t get out and do anything fun anymore.” If you want the one that you are caring for to be happy, ask for help. We Understand That No one can take care of your loved one like you can. YOU KNOW the “schedule” for medicines, appointments and when the best time to eat is. YOU KNOW how she likes her covers tucked in, what the temperature in the house should be, or how he likes his oatmeal. It is true that no one will be able to do it exactly like you do, but after awhile, if you don’t get help, you won’t be able to do it like you used to, either. Sources of Help Family and Friends Rely on your family and friends. If you have family and friends who can and are willing to help, then you need to spread the love and make them a part of the care process. Ask them to do specific things to help you. Many times people are willing to help, but they don’t know what to do. Ask someone to make a pan of their favorite lasagna that mom likes so much. It will make them feel good that they can help out. When they come over to deliver the meal maybe everyone can sit down and enjoy it together. There is nothing better to bring people together than a good meal. Caring for the Family Caregiver The information in the Family Caregiver section of this guide is designed to help those who are family caregivers or are just beginning the caregiving journey. It is a starting point & intended to help lead you to the information & support you need. Much more detailed information is available on our website at PolkElderCare.com with phone numbers, links & downloads of tips, checklists & worksheets. This Section Includes: • What is a Family Caregiver? • 3 Rules for Being a Good Caregiver: • It Is OK To Ask For Help • Take Care of Yourself • Learn As Much As You Can www.PolkElderCare.com 53


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