Tips for new caregiver
You are not alone in the caregiving journey! New caregiver tips caring for elderly.
Are you new to caregiving journey? Are you one of the increasing numbers of people who serves as a caregiver for an ageing or chronically ill family member?
Many caregivers have to cope with the challenges of caregiving as they strive to give the best to their loved one. Caring for others may have many direct consequences on the caregivers. It may have an impact on their finances, their health, their employment prospects and their ability to participate in social and community life. Caregiving can be made more challenging when the person they are caring for has depression, fatigue, frustration and anger.
Hence, it is important for the family to learn to cope with the sudden onset of illness or disability, and to understand the changes needed in order to handle this crisis. The following tips have been developed to help families and individuals cope with the challenges of caregiving.
1) Communicate with Health care providers.
Always communicate with your healthcare providers (eg. doctors/ nurses/ therapists/ medical social workers) to have a better understanding about the condition of your loved one. They are able to provide important information regarding the illness or disability. While your loved one is in hospital, the family should keep in close contact with the staff to understand the illness and how it affects him or her. Establishing good communication channels with the health care providers will enable you and your family to better participate in the needs and rehabilitation of your loved one.
2) Educate yourself.
Every patient is different when it comes to needs and medical attention. Remember to educate yourself and understand about your care recipient medical condition. This will definitely ease you in the caregiving journey. Answering down these few questions might help you in planning the daily routine.
• What is the patient’s illness?
• How is his/her mobility status.
• What are the precautions that I need to take note?
• Is the patient on a special diet?
• What is the food he/she must avoid?
• What are the medications he/she is on? And what are the medications that he/she is taking for?
3) Nominate one family member to be the main contact person
It is important to have one main contact to liaison between the family and health care providers to smoothen the communication process. For instance
• Ask when you do not understand medical terms or technical languages,
• Write down medications, treatments or procedures which are unfamiliar to you,
• Ask to consult with a medical social worker if you need assistance with information on social services, admission criteria, referrals and financial assistance schemes, etc.,
• Ask to consult with an occupational therapist if you need advice on modifying the home environment or in purchasing devices such as wheelchair, hospital bed, walking aids, oxygen tanks and etc.
4) Always communicate with the patient & other family.
Always discuss with other family members about care arrangement, respite care, financial support and etc. Remember, caregiving is a team work. It is not proper for only one person to shoulder all the responsibilities. Communication with the patient must be established too! Encouraging the elderly to talk about his own concerns and requests too.
5) Take care of yourself too.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the responsibilities and the things you need to learn! As a caregiver, you must take care of yourself too in order to take care of the patient well. You must eat well, sleep well and adopt some relaxation activities like brisk walking, singing, drawing, listening to music, meditate, or do something that make you relax.
6) Seek for help when needed.
Dare to speak out how you feel. If you are feeling stress, please seek for help or talk to someone that you can share your feeling with whom can be your close friend, family member, neighbor and etc. You may look for your social worker or counsellor if you need help in care arrangement, financial assistance, and any form of assistance.
Always remember you are not alone in this journey.