The Process of Becoming a Family Caregiver
You may not even initially realize you are becoming a caregiver, but soon you may find yourself taking on an overwhelming set of new responsibilities. Knowing what steps to take and how to care for your loved one is crucial to becoming an effective family caregiver and can help reduce your stress. Read our caregiving guide to learn more.
The Traits of a Family Caregiver
- Usually provides care free of charge
- Plans meetings and transports family member to appointments
- Assists with daily life activities such as dressing, bathing and taking medicine
- May handle family member’s financial and legal matters
- Help with errands and chores, such as shopping, cooking, cleaning and laundry
Becoming an Effective Family Caregiver
Below are some practices you can follow in order to provide your loved one the best care possible while making it easier on yourself.
- Consult your loved one’s medical professionals and learn as much as possible about the diagnosis.
- Similarly, talk to your loved one about their wants and needs. Find out if you should obtain their Power of Attorney.
- Learn about the specific kind of caregiving you will need to provide. Depending on the condition of your family member, they will require various types of assistance.
- Develop a support network, such as with your friends, family or professionals. You may want to look into receiving financial assistance as well. Having others help you is the best way to maintain your energy and continue to provide time and caregiving for your loved one.
It is equally important to take care of yourself while looking after your loved one. Burnout is a very real phenomenon, and if you fall victim to it, you will be doing yourself and your loved one a disservice.
- Practice healthy eating, sleeping and socializing routines
- Continue or start an exercise regimen
- Be aware of your emotional, physical and time limitations
- If necessary, decline tasks you know will negatively impact your well being
To learn more, visit our Caregiving Tips and Tools page.