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Caregiving 101 – An Overview of Everything You Need to Know

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Becoming a family caregiver can be something that you slowly take on, for example when you go from dropping by your mom’s house once a month to help her with a few chores around the house, to suddenly being in charge of groceries and prescriptions. You gradually start to do more and more and one day you realize that you’re a caregiver because you’re committed to providing ongoing care for someone else. Caregiving can also be something that is sudden, unexpected, and happens overnight. Perhaps it is triggered by a major health event such as a stroke or heart attack. Regardless of how you became a caregiver, the question you might be asking yourself now is – what else do I need to know?

Common Tasks of Caregivers

When you start providing care, you’ll need to remember that each experience is different. The roles are different, and the loved ones you’re dealing with have unique issues. Regardless of how you started providing care, here are a few things you may need to have a plan for:

  • Buying groceries, cooking, cleaning house, doing laundry, and providing transportation
  • Helping with hygiene, getting dressed, or taking and remembering medications
  • Transferring someone out of a bed or chair, helping with physical therapy, or performing medical interventions, such as breathing treatments, wound treatments, or injections
  • Arranging medical appointments and monitoring medications and side effects
  • Talking with healthcare professionals and having a plan for health management
  • Spending time arranging for assistance, especially if your loved one can’t be left alone
  • Handling finances and legal matters
  • Simply being a companion and being on call or available 24/7

Your First Steps as a Caregiver

It can be very easy to become overwhelmed when you first step into the family caregiving role, here are a few steps every caregiver should take at the beginning of their journey:

  • Make sure you are identifying yourself as a caregiver so that you and others know exactly what your role is in your loved one’s life
  • Ensure you are clear on your loved one’s diagnosis, health condition, and details or skills you might need to help care for someone with that diagnosis
  • Talk about finances, healthcare wishes, legal paperwork, powers of attorney, and advance directives with your loved one
  • Bring family and friends together to discuss care, and a way to ensure that you have breaks
  • Find resources and support in the community that will allow you to have time to care for yourself, and help if you need it

The first few stages of caregiving as a family caregiver are the most challenging, it is when you are the least informed, and least experienced. There is help available. Remember that if you need any assistance, Homewatch CareGivers of Lower Bucks County is here to help you in any way we can. We are here to provide you with any information and resources you need to guide you in your caregiving journey. Keep reading our website for more information or contact us today to learn more.

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