1. Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone!
2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
5. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
6. Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay in getting professional help when you need it.
7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
8. Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.
9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!
11. As much as you can try to plan ahead to avert crisis. We are all approaching the inevitable.
Because You Care
First published by Caregivers Action Network
I hope everyone had a great long holiday weekend with friends, family, food and fun. Going through this weekend reminded me of family traditions and our need for that kind of continuity. Then as always I think about other families, caregivers, carees and.... My advise/request is simple. Write down a day in the life of your loved one. Write down all the special things you do for them that you would want done if you were not present. For example, if your caree wakes up every morning looking forward to a cup of coffee with 2 sugars and a cream write it down. Especially for those that can not voice their own desires. Not getting that cup of coffee is not the end of the world for us but for someone with spotty memory it is more the association than the coffee and infinitely frustrating.
It is not enough to just make sure our caree is set financially, but those routines that come with everyday life are equally important. If every July 4th you take your loved one on a picnic to the park and watch fireworks... imagine if they don't get to go? Or if they hate fireworks for some reason, imagine if they are forced to go.
Life is made up of moments and memories and once the memory starts to fade we have only the moments and emotions.
Because You Care
Photo by: Kate Ter Haar