It may well have been suspected, or perhaps broadsided you out of the blue. Mom has just received the official diagnosis for a progressive disease that is going to make independent life difficult. While there are lots of unknowns, one thing is for sure: she’s adamant about remaining at home – meaning you’ll have some decisions to make about how to provide for the care she’ll need.
Welcome to the world of family caregiving! If you are feeling a bit stressed with what to anticipate next, the following family caregiver support tips can certainly help.
- Discover as much as you are able to about the disease. The senior’s doctor can provide you with resources and educational materials that will help you know what to anticipate and to increase confidence in your caregiving role.
- Get organized. Create a folder to save important paperwork: prescription details, test results, contact information for physicians’ offices together with the pharmacy, and any other pertinent medical information. Start a journal to help track any changes in condition or concerns that arise, as well as the details surrounding those changes.
- Set aside past hurts. A new diagnosis could cause old family dynamics to resurface. If unsettled issues are interfering with your ability to provide the best care, seek the support of a professional counselor to effectively work through them.
- Determine boundaries together. Talk to the senior about how much and what type of assistance would be beneficial. It’s normal to want to step in and take over, nevertheless, it’s essential for the individual to maintain as much control and independence as possible.
- Take care of yourself, too. Your own health and wellbeing are equally important. And, the degree of care you provide can be compromised if your own needs are not being met.
Prioritize and designate time each day for self-care by seeking out and accepting assistance from others.
It’s vital to be aware of the possibility for caregiver burnout and depression, and to do something immediately should you begin to experience warning signs such as:
- Increased anxiety, agitation, and irritability
- Withdrawing from social interactions
- Less interest in once-enjoyed hobbies
- Loss of appetite
- Issues with falling or staying asleep
- Challenges with focus and concentration
Locating a trusted care partner will give time for you to see a physician for a checkup to rule out other possible health concerns, to speak with a therapist to effectively work through the many emotions involved in caregiving, and also to relax and recharge.
The caregiving team at Serenity Home Care is here with additional resources for family caregivers, in addition to skilled, dependable respite care services that enable for a healthy life balance. Reach out to us at 250-590-8098 for a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about our award-winning Victoria home care solutions. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.