There is so much for you to learn and to understand as a family caregiver. There’s also no one right way to go about it. If you have a plan in place, though, you can start to shorten that learning curve a bit.
Put Together a Game Plan that Includes You.
The biggest mistake that caregivers tend to make is that they make all sorts of plans but forget that they’re a part of the equation. Definitely make certain that you’re including self-care for yourself. If you don’t, you’re going to find yourself reaching your limits far sooner than you expect. Any of the initial plans that you make need to include meeting your own needs as well as your senior’s needs.
Give Yourself Time to Learn.
Learning takes time. There’s no way that you’re going to be able to learn everything that you need to know about being a caregiver on the first day or in the first week. Take your time and give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Depending on your elderly family member’s health issues, you might be learning about some really complicated situations.
Set up a Caregiving Team.
You don’t have to do this alone, even if that’s how you feel at first. Your senior’s medical team is the first phase of your caregiving team. From there, other family members, friends, and neighbors can all become a part of the team, too. You may want to consider hiring elder care providers as well. They can help you to learn the ropes more effectively and they can take over for you when you need to take time away.
Look for Ways to Keep Track of What You Need to Know.
As you’re learning more and more, you’re going to need to find a way to capture that information. You’re also going to need to track certain aspects of your elderly family member’s care on a regular basis. Even a simple spiral notebook can do the job for you, but you need to start getting in the habit of writing things down. As your senior’s needs change and as your information grows, your note-taking system might change, too. That’s perfectly normal and something to expect.
Remember that you don’t have to be a perfect family caregiver right out of the gate. What really matters is that you’re there for your elderly family member and you’re offering her the support that she needs. Give yourself time to enjoy the process.