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The Family Caregiver Toolbox

A photo of a family

If you are providing assistance when it comes to the daily needs of another person, then you are probably a caregiver. Just because you aren’t paid to provide care, because you’re someone’s spouse, mother, or child, doesn’t mean you aren’t a caregiver. A formal caregiver is someone who is paid by family to provide care. An informal caregiver is the friend or family member who provides care when there isn’t any formal care. Often, it can be just as stressful if not more so to be an informal caregiver than a formal one.

If you fit the description of a family caregiver, or an informal caregiver, then you may find that you were thrown into a position you weren’t really prepared to fill. A family caregiver toolbox might help right? Here are a few things to help get you started in your role.

A Few Things You May Need to Be Prepared For

About 60% of caregivers provide some kind of medical and nursing tasks for their loved one. In addition to daily living, caregivers may need to be prepared to:

  • Manage medications and/or give injections
  • Prepare and administer nutritional needs, including intravenous feedings
  • Help with assistive devices for mobility
  • Prepare food for special diets
  • Provide wound or ostomy care
  • Use glucometers, blood pressure monitors, and oxygen saturation monitors
  • Use incontinence equipment and supplies
  • Operate medical equipment such as lifts, home dialysis equipment, and more

Don’t forget that you can ask for help and training in any of these things from a local caregiving agency, the doctors office that recommended the equipment, or a nurse before your loved one comes home.

A Place to Start

Another thing you can do before your loved one comes home is prepare and create a safe environment for them. Use the internet to search for organizations that survey and retrofit homes for free or little to no cost for the elderly or disabled. These places can install ramps, help move a bedroom downstairs, and help you fix any trip hazards in the home.

Once your home is set up, and you feel like you’ve been trained properly in the care your loved one will need once they come home, make sure that their medical records, medications, habits and symptoms are all in a central location ready to take with you to appointments or available for emergency care.

How to Keep Going

Once you get your loved one home, you’ll want to ensure that you are able to continue to provide care for a long period of time. This may mean hiring outside help, organizing schedules so that extended family, friends, and the community can help, and so much more. Don’t forget to reach out to Homewatch CareGivers of Sterling, we’re here to help you come up with a care plan and a way to get organized.

Don’t forget to ask for help if it isn’t offered. Sometimes people just don’t know how to jump in unless you tell them. If you have a neighbor who asks if there’s something that they can do, don’t be shy about asking them to bring a casserole over every Saturday and check in. Chances are, they’ll do it. A general offer of help is usually genuine. Take advantage of respite care, and remember to take time for yourself so you don’t get caregiver burnout.

It is important to recognize that you’re a caregiver, once you do then you’ll know how to use the resources that are available to you. At Homewatch CareGivers of Sterling we’re here to support you with passion and purpose. We can provide a variety of resources, as well as a few hours of companionship, temporary post-surgical support, or even 24-hour elder care. The possibilities are endless. Contact us today to learn more about all of the different options there are, and how affordable it can be.

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