With the new year, many people may begin caring for a grandparent, parent, or other loved one for the first time. Caregiving may happen suddenly with an accident, or a medical diagnosis, or start gradually with driving your loved one to get groceries. Later, you may find yourself preparing meals, handling their finances, or taking time off work to address their growing needs.
Whether you are just beginning to anticipate a need for taking care of a loved one full-time, consider these tips, resources, and checklists to help you get organized and find support on your caregiving journey. Just take it one step at a time.
Consider the ‘IRS of Caregiving’:
- Information- What knowledge/skills will you need to be able to provide care?
- Respite- Caregiving is often a 24/7 job, and everyone needs a break sometimes.
- Support- You cannot do it alone!
Getting information and training can help you feel confident about the many tasks you perform. You can access information online like Family Caregiver Alliance, through medical providers, Area Agencies on Aging like Sourcewise, support groups, and your community. You can start by saying, “I am a caregiver and I need help.”
Whatever else happens, do not forget that your loved one is an individual with their own wants and needs. Involve them in caregiving decisions, especially those that involve their health, living situation, or finances. When it can be done safely, allow them independence to perform the daily tasks they are capable of. Give them a say in their own affairs. It can help make the process smoother.
To learn more about caregiver tools and resources, speak with a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.