Keep Yourself Strong
If you’re a caregiver, one of the most important things to remember is to take care of yourself. Caring for a loved one who is ill or who has recently undergone surgery is both necessary to his or her recovery but also personally taxing as you juggle caregiving and your regular life.
Get started by organizing the patient’s medical records, physician phone numbers, and medication schedule. Keep these items handy and accessible. A home nurse can show you how to feed, bathe and dress your loved one if his or her condition requires. Always feel free to be assertive when asking medical providers any questions, so that you have all the guidance and information you need.
While you’re facilitating someone else’s recovery, be sure you seek support for yourself. Ask the hospital staff or search online to find caregiver support groups where you can share your experience and discuss your feelings. If your loved one is a senior adult, call (800) 677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov to find local services or visit caregiveraction.org and www.caregiver.org.
When things get to be too much, ask other family members, neighbors or friends for relief. You can assign specific tasks to coordinate and organize the group effort. Having others help allows you to take breaks and catch up on personal tasks. If necessary, a social worker can arrange home health care to give you respite without compromising the quality of care.