to find something you can do with a friend outside
of the home, if possible. This is one of those times
where you need to Ask For Help so that you can
get out of the house for an hour or two.
Care for your own physical health, and your
mental well being. You may be so preoccupied
with your loved one’s health, that you forget
about your own. The suggestions above will
help reduce your stress and will keep your body
fit for the challenges you will face. Get regular
check-ups, get your mammogram or prostate
screenings. If you are on medications yourself,
don’t forget to take them and monitor your own
health. Talk to other caregivers. There are many
wonderful groups both online and in person
where you can share, laugh and give support to
others just like you. You must take breaks from
caregiving. Studies show that prolonged periods
of caregiving can adversely affect your physical
and psychological health. Taking breaks gives
you a chance to recharge your batteries. Just
like in sports, you take breaks, “time outs,” so
that you can perform at your best. Caregiving is
RULE NUMBER 3 FOR BEING A
GOOD CAREGIVER: LEARN AS
MUCH AS YOU CAN
Educate yourself about...
• How to give care. Take caregiving training if
available. This will prepare you for what you
need to know and how you should provide
care in all aspects of caregiving.
• Their disease, illness or accident. Learn how
to communicate with and navigate the health
care system. Maintain good health care
records. The more you know, the better you
can care and cope.
• Financial matters. Understand insurance,
Medicare and Medicaid issues, and know
about the care recipient’s finances, if relevant.
Maintain good financial records. Look at hiring
an accountant or a financial advisor if you do
not understand the money end of caring. Look
at protecting assets long term so that you are
able to keep caring for your loved one.
• Legal issues. Look at finding an elder law attorney
to deal with durable powers of attorney,
advance directives, Medicaid planning issues
and much more.
Understand that you don’t have to be perfect.
You just have to be willing to take on the
responsibility of caregiving. Love enough to care
and care enough to love. The old saying is still true
today. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Sit and make
a list of what you think are the most important
things you need to do on a daily basis to care for
your loved one. Once you do this, you will find
out where to spend your time and won’t sweat
the small stuff.
More on Family Caregivers
• How to Create a Safe Home Environment
• Legal Issues and Finding an Elder Law Attorney
• Caring for Memory Impaired Loved Ones
• Taking Time Out for Caregivers Respite Care