Tips for Success in a New Family Caregiver Role
It might have come totally out of nowhere: an unexpected fall that led to a fractured hip as well as the need for Mom to have help and support to stay at home. Or, it may have been building up over the years, such as through the slow and incremental progression of Alzheimer’s. Regardless of the circumstances, you’ve now found yourself in a family caregiver role, and maybe are wondering just what this means and how to navigate these new waters.
First of all, take a deep breath, and a moment to acknowledge the selflessness of your choice. Caregiving is an incredibly rewarding undertaking, yet not without its challenges. A little proactive planning will go a long way towards a smoother transition to care, both for you and your loved one. A good starting point is to determine how each party would like the routine of each day to unfold, making a simple timeline to record the daily activities and tasks that will need your attention. A daily schedule may look like this:
- 7 a.m.: Help Mom get out of bed, shower, get dressed, and ready for the day
- 8 a.m.: Make breakfast and clean up
- 9 a.m.: Take Mom to exercise class and/or physical therapy
- 11 a.m.: Run errands with (or for) Mom
- 1 p.m.: Prepare lunch and clean up
- 2 p.m.: Help Mom get settled in for afternoon activities: a film, reading, puzzles, nap, participating in a favorite pastime or hobby, etc.
- 6 p.m.: Make dinner and clean up
- 8 p.m.: Help Mom with bedtime tasks – a bath, change into pajamas, brush teeth, etc.
- 10 p.m.: Help Mom get into bed
Your list will be different for each day, of course, but this provides a helpful guideline to let you know when you might have a little downtime to yourself, and when you’ll need to provide hands-on help.
This may also be an appropriate time to determine boundaries together – and to pledge to stick to them. Again, these will vary for each person as well as on different days, but determine what is important to each of you and be mindful of the needs of one another. Having a specified time every day for self-care and private time, when family and friends will come to visit, whether or not you intend to maintain a job outside the home, will be important to your wellbeing.
Know that Sage Home Care is always available to assist while you get used to your caregiving role by providing dependable respite care needed to ensure you are able to care for yourself, as well – something that is extremely important to both you and a loved one in your care. Call us at (800) 578-4554 to learn more about options for senior care in and around Carmel, and see our full service area.