Celebrate National Caregiver Month

CELEBRATE NATIONAL CAREGIVER MONTH

November is National Caregiver Month, a time to recognize and thank the many hard working and devoted people who make it their job to keep a loved one happy and safe.  In hopes of making the lives of these caregivers a little easier, here are eight tips to read and follow to help you on your caregiving journey.  Remember, you do not have to live with the person to be considered a caregiver.  Anyone who helps an older adult with something he or she used to do without help is a caregiver.

 

  1. Taking care of yourself is just as important as caring for your loved one.  You will be able to provide better care for a longer period of time if you yourself are healthy.
  2. Involve the person being cared for in making decisions regarding his or her care.  Sometimes this is not possible, but keeping the persons’ wishes in mind is very important.
  3. If someone offers to help, allow them the opportunity to help!  It is good for everyone when friends or other family members help.  Keep a wish list nearby of things you could use help with.  When someone offers to help, let them choose off the list.
  4. Planning ahead will make caregiving easier in the future.  Talk with the person you are caring for about money, medical care and legal issues – complete Power of Attorney forms.  Keep doctors’ names, medication list, insurance information and social security card where you can find them in case of emergency.
  5. Learning as much as possible about the person’s illness or disease will help you be a better caregiver.  Get information from your doctor, books, the internet or local Aging & Disability Resource Center/Aging Unit.
  6. It is normal to feel overwhelmed at times.  If you become overwhelmed a lot or if you feel angry or lose your patience frequently you should seek help from your doctor or a counselor.
  7. It is critical to develop a support system.  Talking about your feelings with family or friends is important.  Sharing with others who are going through similar experiences can be especially helpful.  Consider attending a support group.
  8. Caregivers who get help are more likely to provide better care for a longer period of time.  They also “burn out” less often.  Consider hiring someone to assist with household chores, meal preparation, personal cares or respite care.

If you need information about local resources or have specific questions about your caregiving journey, please call * your local Aging & Disability Resource Center.

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