What to Do if You Are a First-Time Family Caregiver
Organize Legal, Personal and Financial Documents
Research Your Options
Prepare the Home
Enlist Help and Care for Yourself
- Ask other family members (or your loved one’s friends) to pitch in. They may be able to join you in the hands-on caregiving duties, or in secondary ways, such as preparing a meal or driving them to doctor appointments. When asking for assistance, never feel embarrassed or decline someone’s offer out of courtesy. Create a list of tasks you can delegate or need an extra hand with. Conversely, you could ask a friend or family member to be a confidant, someone to talk to when you feel stressed.
- Join a support group. Whether it’s online or in-person, meeting with others in similar situations gives you the opportunity to celebrate successes, offer consolation, share suggestions/guidance and form bonds. Many of the ComForCare/At Your Side Home Care franchises offer the Family Caregiver Skills and Support Group for those caring for loved ones with dementia. Call your local office to learn more. Additionally, you can find support groups by Googling “family caregiver support groups.”
- Seek out community services. One of the most well-known programs is Meals on Wheels, which provides meals and companionship for seniors in their homes or at community centers. If you are returning to the workforce or need a few hours to run errands, you may want to search for adult daycare centers or respite care services. You may discover you and your loved one need more assistance — that’s OK! Home care services could be the best option.
Most importantly, take care of yourself. Carve out time every day to recharge: Take a warm bath, play online games or visit with friends. You must tend to your needs so you are physically, emotionally and mentally prepared to care for your loved one.