Becoming a Caregiver for the First Time

As your parent ages, there comes a time when you must care for them like they once cared for you. If you have never been a caregiver before, the task may seem daunting. While the experience will be trying for you and your elderly parents, it will be rewarding as well. This guide will help your transition to become a caregiver for the first time a more seamless one.

Educate yourself

The first step toward becoming an in-home caregiver is educating yourself on what that title entails. This includes learning about the duties and responsibilities of a family caregiver, such as personal care, meal preparation, medication reminders, and creating a safe home. Take this time to do research on home care services as well, as you may find these fit your needs better.

You should also use this time to learn everything you can about your loved one’s condition. This will help you to meet their present needs and also prepare for the future. Be informed on the medications and other treatments that your loved one needs. Medical procedures (such as giving injections, taking blood pressure, or changing dressings) should only be executed by a qualified professional.

becoming a caregiver leads to a lot of transitions

Be organized

Once you have taken the time to educate yourself on what will be expected of you as a caregiver, it is important to get organized. This means creating a system to keep track of doctor appointments, medications, and other important information. Create a daily schedule either in a planner or on an app. The same, basic schedule on a day-to-day basis, then fill in other events that pop up, from doctor appointments to family reunions.

Pro tip:

Consider meal planning as you make your schedule. It saves money and time, and it also allows you to make sure that your loved one is eating nutritiously. If cooking meals from scratch is not possible, there are plenty of meal delivery services that can do the work for you.

Create a safe living area

While your loved one may be a little disgruntled by the prospect of you coming into their home and changing things, remind them that it is for their safety. Do what you can to safety-proof their home. This may be something as simple as moving furniture to allow for larger walkways, or installing grab bars to help with balance in the bathroom.

Lock away potential poisons or fire hazards in safe locations. This will ensure they don’t accidentally misuse something and harm themselves. Also keep an eye on food and medication consumption, as well as any other objects that may pose a tripping hazard.

Help your loved one make the adjustment

Your parent or other elderly family members may have a hard time accepting help initially. It’s never easy to have to rely on someone else for the tasks they used to find easy, and many seniors find it difficult to come to terms with this. With that in mind, it’s important to allow your loved one to maintain as much independence as possible. To the extent that you can, involve them in important conversations, such as those involving health, finances, and living situations.

Remember to be respectful of their autonomy. Once upon a time, they took care of you. They built a career for themselves and raised a family. Don’t minimize or infantilize them, as this will only make the adjustment more difficult. Instead, try to see things from their perspective and be as understanding as possible.

becoming a caregiver for a first time is a rewarding experience

Get support

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. As the primary caregiver, you will quickly learn that you can’t do everything on your own. If you try to shoulder all the responsibilities of caregiving on your own, you will likely experience caregiver burnout. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. As a matter of fact, when people share the load, caregivers are less likely to become stressed, which leads to better care for your loved one.

Enlist the help of other family members and friends when possible. If you have trouble getting people to commit to helping, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Additionally, consider joining a caregiver support group. These groups provide caretakers an outlet to vent their frustrations and receive advice from people who are facing similar challenges.

Consider respite care

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the burdens of caregiving, respite care is an option. Respite care service is a short-term service that provides temporary relief to caregivers so they can much-needed breaks while ensuring their loved ones are cared for. Respite caregivers assist with the activities of daily living, which include companionship, personal care, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and other essential services.

At Home Care Powered by AUAF, we know just how enormous of task caregiving is, and we are here to help. To learn more about how our caregivers can help make your life easier, call 773-274-9262.

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