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Caregiver Instructions

Caring for anyone is difficult, even in the best of circumstances.

It can be challenging to balance the demands of your own life with the responsibilities caring for someone recovering from illness or surgery. Both of you can get back on track when you help your loved one manage their care.

  • Gather medical histories, medication lists and all care instructions, making sure to note which doctor provided them.
  • Create a filing system that includes labels for medical care, benefits, resources, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc., so you can keep brochures and paperwork handy.
  • If your loved one will need help with meals, bathing and dressing, make an appointment for a visiting nurse to spend time in your home teaching you how to perform those tasks.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Jot down a list of any information you need to know and discuss any issues with your health care provider until you’re sure you understand.

Taking Care of Yourself

Being a caregiver is one of the most stressful jobs you can have. That’s why you have to make sure you take care of yourself along the way. Luckily, you can attend a support group and meet with others in a similar situation to talk about all you are dealing with.

To find a caregiver support group near you, visit caregiveraction.org or www.caregiver.org. If you’re a caregiver for an older adult, call (800) 677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov.

When you’re a caregiver, you will often receive offers of help. Don’t be afraid to say yes to friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers who are willing to lend a hand. Keep a list of specific tasks they can help you accomplish so that you will be ready when asked.

Remember to take breaks whenever you can, stay active and find ways to keep up your spirits. Home healthcare aides or a social worker can offer a respite, freeing you up to take care of your own needs without worrying that your loved one will suffer.