Sick elders can make life difficult for their loved ones, and it can also be a challenging time for the caregivers. While it may be overwhelming to take on such a role, there are several ways you can support your loved one while caring for him or her at home.
1. Keep a Notebook or Document of Important Information
If you’re a caregiver for an older adult with a chronic illness, it can be difficult to remember what they need and what is happening with their health. A notebook or other shared, secure online document can help you keep track of their needs and the care they receive. This information could include medical care, social services, contact numbers, financial issues and other details about their condition. You can also share this document with other family members and care providers.
2. Be on the Lookout for Changes in Their Conditions
Often when a person becomes sick, there are changes in their physical or emotional symptoms. It is important to stay aware of these changes and notify your healthcare provider if you notice them.
It can be hard to know what is normal and what isn’t when a loved one has a chronic illness, so it is important to ask your doctor for guidance. They can advise you on what to do if your loved one begins experiencing new or more severe symptoms, or they can suggest a medication or treatment that may help with their condition.
3. Get a Personal Care Plan for Your Loved One
Having a care plan will help you coordinate all the various services your loved one is receiving, and it will give you a clear idea of the type of care they need at each stage of their illness. This will help you feel more in control and less stressed as a caregiver.
4. Maintain Their Health and Wellbeing
It is essential that your loved one continues to eat healthy, drink plenty of water, exercise, and receive regular health checkups. This will help them feel their best and prevent them from catching a cold or other health problem.
5. Set Goals for Yourself
It’s important to maintain your own health and wellbeing as a caregiver, so make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods and staying active. It is also a good idea to schedule at least one day each week to relax, read a book, or spend time with friends and family.
6. Ask for Help if Needed
Caregivers often feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities, but they should always be willing to ask for help. You can ask family and friends to help with meals, laundry, housework or shopping, and you can also call a friend to come by and provide companionship.
7. Find a Supportive Partner to Share Your Responsibilities
Whether you are caring for a spouse, parent, child or aging parent, it is crucial to be supported by others. Having a partner can be a great way to cope with the stresses of being a caregiver and can give you both the time and space you need to recharge.