Four Important Tips for New Caregivers... Caring for an aging parent can feel overwhelming and it’s natural for new caregivers to feel a bit anxious.
One of the most important things you can do at this stage is to be honest about the emotions your feeling, in addition to taking advantages of the resources that are available to you. This includes taking advice from people who understand what it’s like to be in your shoes.
Experienced caregivers want you to know that you are not alone in this.
Below are a few pieces of advice that veteran caregivers say they wish they would have received early on.
Your parents’ emotions can be complicated
Much like it’s normal for a new caregiver to feel anxious and in some cases, depressed, your parents are likely to feel these same things. It’s hard for anyone to accept they’re losing their mobility and independence— this is especially true if your parents are dealing with a chronic condition. Listen to their concerns and try to be patient.
Keeping a journal can help
Journaling will allow you to express your feelings, both positive and negative. When you put your feeling on paper (even if it’s just a few sentences) it will help prevent them from getting bottled up inside. Regardless as to whether you’re feeling frustrated, angry, sad or depressed, journaling can help you deal with what you’re feeling immediately.
Technology can help
Apps like Uber, GrubHub and Uber Eats can make life a lot easier. If your parent needs to take medication throughout the day, a medication dispenser can help ensure they take the right pills at the correct time. You can also purchase emergency alert devices online, which your parents can wear throughout the day and night. When you use technology, your parents may be able to retain some of their independence without your needing to worry as much.
Investigate long-term care options before you need them
If you think there will come a point where your parents will need to move into a senior living community, it’s best to start your research sooner than later. You’ll want to remember that there may come a time where this isn’t just the best decision for you, it may also be the best decision for your parents. If you’re not quite there yet but you feel as if you need some help, home care assistance may also be an option.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, remember, there are resources you can take advantage of and support groups you can turn to. Yes, being a caregiver can feel overwhelming, but you can do this.