AKA Caregivers Awareness Tips

Written by Chenique Wilcox

Taking care of a beloved grandparent was the best job in the world and was terribly isolating and scary. Caregiving uses all our talents and builds incredible skills; we learn how to get things done and how to protect and enhance another person's life. My grandmother was 72 years old when she was unable to care for herself. It was a pleasure being her caregiver and we know how lucky we were to be together and enjoy one another each day. We have dealt with a broken hip and pneumonia during those years and I was lucky to have family, friends and the resources to be able to care for her, and she appreciated it very much. We received help from the community in so many ways- including Meals on Wheels (lunches delivered) and help with respite care from many different organizations. With my caregiving experience, I’m able to provide tips to all the new caregivers that need that support to assist them with caring for their loved ones.

 

  • Learn about and understand the diagnosis of the person for whom you are caring. This will help you to plan in a realistic manner.

  • Consider gathering together your family members to discuss the care that may be needed. Communication issues create barriers to effective caregiving. It’s important to include the care recipient in these meetings as well.

  • Take advantage of community resources for programs such as caregiver education and support groups to maximize the role of caregiving and reduce stress. Support groups do not only face to face anymore, as there is a growing online community of support.

  • There are programs and services in the community to support caregivers and to promote socialization, to include respite, senior centers, and adult day care.

  • Take care of yourself! When caregivers take time to care for themselves, they are healthier, have more energy, and feel better.

  • Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.

  • Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.

  • Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.

  • Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay getting professional help when you need it.

  • Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.

  • Make sure legal documents are in order.

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