People find themselves providing care to loved ones for different reasons. For instance, you may need to lend a hand after a stroke or some other major health event. You might also need to step in as your family member grows older, as many elderly people require assistance when it comes to daily living.
Despite your love and dedication, assuming a caregiver role is challenging for most people. Along with numerous daily responsibilities, you may also find yourself navigating complex processes to ensure that your loved one receives the best care possible. While a person’s needs can vary, most caregivers provide help with things like:
- Household chores
- Personal hygiene and grooming
- Meal preparation
- Financial and legal matters
- Management of healthcare needs
- Physical activities
Seeing to the above needs not only helps ensure their safety and security, but it can also have a major impact on a person’s quality of life.
What to Do If You Find Yourself in a Caregiver Role
Because caregivers play such crucial roles in their loved ones’ lives, they must fulfill their duties to the best of their ability. Here are a few ways you can ensure your loved one receives optimum care:
Establish a Plan of Care
The first step to creating a plan of care is to understand your loved one’s needs. Make a list of the tasks you commonly perform for them, such as cooking meals, helping with bathing, providing transportation to doctor’s appointments, and other duties. Once you have a comprehensive list in place, you can use it as a road map as you provide care.
Seek Support as Needed
Everyone needs help, including family caregivers. Fortunately, the following organizations and agencies can provide support to families in need:
- Veteran services for former military members
- Adult daycare (ideal for socialization and to provide family caregivers a break)
- Community services
- Home medical care (which can sometimes be paid for with insurance)
- Home food delivery (takes the pressure off the primary caregiver when it comes to meal preparation)
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
You can only provide quality care for your loved one when you’re taking care of yourself. That’s why all caregivers are encouraged to do the following:
- Eat nutritious meals
- Make time for exercise and physical activity
- Get plenty of sleep each night
- Take breaks as needed to participate in hobbies
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other people when you need it
Provide Proactive Advocacy
Many seniors require advocacy when it comes to healthcare matters. As a caregiver, you’re in a unique position to advocate for your loved one by doing the following:
- Retain copies of important legal documents, such as powers of attorney and healthcare directives. Additionally, read through these documents to ensure you have the right information, and understand your loved one’s wishes so that you can act quickly in the event of an emergency.
- Ensure you have access to your loved one’s complete healthcare history, including medications, allergies, conditions, current treatments, and other pertinent data.
- Make sure you’re fully prepared for emergencies, such as accidents or major illnesses. For instance, you must be able to share medical information with healthcare professionals when your loved one is receiving emergency medical care.
Downloading the free DrOwl app today can also make your duties a lot easier to manage. This app will allow you to store and manage your loved one’s health history, which can be easily accessed and shared on-demand. Access to medical records can help ensure that they get the proper treatment and allows patients to exert greater control over their healthcare.