New caregivers face many challenges – from understanding the illness to providing immediate care or planning for the future. This checklist is designed to provide new caregivers with an overview of common care giving issues. Caring for an older, ill or disabled person can be challenging – especially if you are new to the task. But there are steps you can take to make the job easier.
- Talk to a friend, family member or counselor about your feelings.
- Join a support group.
- Do you feel overwhelmed? If so, talk to your doctor, therapist or another health professional right away .
Make a plan for keeping your life together.
- Find out if your employer has an Employee Assistance Program that provides support for caregivers.
- Let go of less important commitments. No one can do it all!
- Keep doing at least one activity or hobby that brings you pleasure.
- Take regular breaks from care giving .
- Make sure you are meeting your own care needs: eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and spending time with family or friends.
Learn about the disease, condition or illness.
- Talk to a health care provider, Ask:
- Is this a long or short – term situation?
- What are the person’s specific care needs?
- How will these needs change over time?
- Ask about special skills. For example, ask how to move someone with limited mobility or how to give medications.
- Get more information from books, pamphlets or the internet.
Research community resources .
- Talk with hospital staff about services in your area. Contact your county social services about public resources.
- Call your local area agency on aging and organizations specific to the disease. For example, call the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Explore options such as adult day care, meal delivery, transportation services, respite service s and in – home support services.
- Consider hiring a care manager. This is a social worker or nurse who specializes in arranging care.
- Keep the information you collect in a notebook or computer. Even if you don’t use it now, you may later on.
Plan for immediate care .
- Ask the person being cared for about his or her wishes around immediate care.
- Adapt the living environment for special needs, such as a walker, wheelchair or bedside commode.
- Consider how you will track the person’s health and care needs.
- Keep a log or journal of eating patterns, medications, and physical symptoms.
- If other family members are providing support, write down who will be in charge of what task.
Enlist the help of others .
- Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Don’ t try to do it all.
- Make a list of people who can help.
- List the tasks that others can do, such as running errands or bringing dinner.
- Ask a friend, family member or neighbor to call people or arrange for help.
Organize important information .
- Write down:
- Doctors’ name, phone numbers and addresses.
- Medical insurance information.
- Prescription numbers names and doses.
- Organize financial information such as household bills, loans and debts, bank accounts and insurance policies.
- Photocopy important information such as social security card number and driver’s license and insurance cards.
Plan for the future .
- Get information about the long – term prognosis. Knowing what will happen in the future will help you plan for care.
- Asses finances. Talk to a financial advisor familiar with care issues.
- Talk to a lawyer or legal aid representative about a Durable Power of Attorney for health care and finances.
New caregivers face many challenges – from understanding the illness to providing immediate care or planning for the future. This checklist is designed to provide new caregivers with an overview of common care giving issues.
To find information about support groups and other services in your area , consult your local phone book. Or call the Eldercare Locator at 1 – 800 – 677 – 11 16, or visit their website at Eldercare
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