Ten Tips for Family Caregivers

Categories: Caregiving Moments

A version of this post appeared January 21, 2015. We’ve refreshed and updated the content to offer additional support to caregivers who are finding this COVID-19 pandemic especially challenging.

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  1. Seek support from other caregivers.  You are not alone! ABC11’s Caregivers Corner on Facebook provides a forum for caregivers to ask, to share, and even to vent.
  2. Take care of your own health so you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one(s). These days, you may be experiencing the sandwich effect, with school-aged children in your home, with parents in facilities you can’t visit right now, or a spouse who is immunocompromised and requires extra care.
  3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you. This can be as simple as check-ins by phone or dropping off the occasional meal.
  4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors. Many in-person appointments for routine care have been cancelled or postponed and we’re all relying on telehealth or phone consultations. These can be challenging for those who are not as comfortable with this format, so before your appointment, make a list of questions and observations you want to be sure to share.
  5. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but even simple stretches, or gazing out a window, or picking up a favorite book of poems or short stories can provide a diversion from today’s news feeds.
  6. Watch out for signs of depression and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it. Caregiving can be very isolating.
  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. This can be a great time to ensure you and your family members have their Advance Directives.
  10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

-by Nicole Clagett, Transitions LifeCare’s Director of Caregiver Support/Transitions GuidingLights’ Executive Director

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