Top Tips For Caregivers of the Elderly

What are the best tips for caregivers?  After all, care giving is tough. If you haven’t done it and are now being thrust into the role of caregiver, then you are definitely in for a rude awakening.

I was in this position, and it’s not fun. So this article is meant to assist all of the caregivers out there to give the best tips and ideas that I have accumulated throughout my caregiving journey.

Top Tips For Caregivers

1) Care giving is a job and respite is the reward that you have earned. Therefore, make sure to reward yourself with respite breaks from time-to-time as appropriate.

How Does A Caregiver Do This?

Seek out sources of respite care, many of which can be found for free. This article will point you in the right direction.

2) Watch out for signs of depression, and do not delay in getting professional help for yourself when you need it.

How Does A Caregiver Do This?

In addition to seeking out respite care as it was outlined above, there are several steps that a caregiver can take to alleviate their own depression…

  • FMLA-this is the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows individuals up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a sick or disabled relative. If you need to take some time from work for yourself…and can afford to do so…this could be a viable option.
  • Caregiver support groups-often just knowing that you are not alone could be a terrific way for you to ward off depression. At these support meetings you meet with people just like you who are going through the same things that you are. Of only can you find z means of support, but they may have solutions to the problems that you are currently dealing with.

3) When people offer to help…say YES! And then suggest specific things for them to do. Do not be bashful or proud. If you are not tired at that exact moment you will be in the near future. Therefore, the answer to any questions like, “Can I help you with ____________________?” is YES!

4) You need to start learning about your loved ones condition. This will help you to communicate with them as well as with their doctor’s more intelligently and help you to do your job as a caregiver better.

How Does A Caregiver Do This?

Start reading and exploring websites. One of the first books that I read on my care giving journey was Elder Care for Dummies, which provided a very good foundation for starting the process of learning what was in store for me.

You should also look into “disease specific resources” such as the Alzheimer’s Association website, to find information related to a specific condition.

5) There’s a difference between caring and doing. Be open to technologies and ideas that promote your loved ones independence.

How Does A Caregiver Do This?

This is what my in home care products page is all about, finding the best yet most economical resources available for caregivers so that they can have the peace of mind of knowing their loved one is safe without it breaking the bank.

My goal was to find the right equipment at the right price, knowing full well that the items that I choose would help to promote the independence of those who need it most.

6) Trust Your Instincts In Any Situation. Nine times out of ten you will be right.

7) Caregivers often do a lot of lifting, pushing and pulling. Take care of your back.

How Does A Caregiver Do This? Several ways…

First of all, you need to take care of yourself. That is why I have written extensively on caregiver fitness. The problem is that most caregivers don’t have a lot of time to exercise and this makes finding the right type of equipment even more important. It is why I recommend a set of resistance bands for all caregivers.

Resistance bands will allow you to perform about 99% of all of the exercises that can be performed in a gym from the comfort of your own living room, your office, hotel room, wherever.

When I cannot get to the gym, my resistance bands allow me to bring the gym to me. Between using them and adding in some body weight workouts like push ups and squats it allows me to stay in share for the physical and emotional rigors of care giving.

Finally, for the times that you do have to lift you need to learn to lift safely. For me, the most difficult times were when I had to get mom in and out of the car when I was picking her up from the nursing home. A few of the tips I could pass along would include…

A) I have Mom sit on a garbage bag so that it is easier for her to pivot in and out of the passenger seat of my car.

B) For when I do have to lift, it can be tough because I have to grab her under her right arm and then also grab her pants from behind and lift both at once. In order to save my back I actually brace myself against the car and have found that this works really well in taking the strain off of my back.

8) Grieve for your losses but allow yourself to dream new dreams. There may be some things that you will need to put off because of the strains and rigors of care giving. But you cannot allow care giving to put your life on hold.

How Does A Caregiver Do That?

You still have the right to live your life…and that is what respite care is for. See point #1 again.

9) Last, but certainly not least, I have put together the best list I could of free services for seniors and their caregivers.  You can access that list here.

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