A Caregiver’s Guide


Help for the Older Family in Need

Few people are adequately prepared for the responsibilities and tasks associated with providing care for the elderly. The importance of having a game plan in life, which helps us determine where we are going and how we are going to get there, can make the task a little bit easier to complete. As a road map for caregivers, this guide will assist them in choosing the best path for themselves. It also serves as a powerful reminder that those who provide care for others can do a better job of caregiving if they take the time and care necessary to attend to their own personal needs as well. It cannot be overstated that the caregiver is a critically important component of the caregiving equation. Actually, the success of this equation and the ability of the equation to continue to succeed is dependent on how well the caregiver takes care of themselves. Or, to put it another way, if the caregiver becomes ill, who will take care of the care-recipient? Please take the time to read this manual before you arrive at your destination.

Caring for others can be both rewarding and challenging.

Caregivers are likely to experience a wide range of emotions, with many ups and downs. Changes in your loved one’s habits, preferences, and condition will occur over time, which may cause concern, but please be assured that these changes are part of a natural progression. We are here to help you understand what is going on and to guide you through these changes so that you can feel confident that your loved one is safe and receiving the best care possible.

This section will provide some useful caregiving information and tips on some of the symptoms you may encounter while caring for a loved one.

Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver – Keeping your Health in Order

Please keep in mind that to give your best effort, you must first take care of yourself. Finding ways to reduce stress is beneficial because it allows you to focus on the essence of all that is good in what you are doing.

Take Emotional Care of Yourself

  • Take a break at least once a day by going outside (even if only for a few minutes), going for a walk, reading a book, seeing friends, or going to the movies.
  • Discuss your feelings with friends and family and consider joining a support group.
  • Ask for assistance and allow others to assist you—keep a list of tasks that need to be completed so that you can more easily delegate. People want to assist.
  • Take several deep breaths throughout the day.

Take good care of yourself. Physically

  • Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy, balanced diet on a regular basis.
  • To cope, avoid using alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, or food.
  • Maintain an exercise routine—at least 20 minutes of physical activity per day, such as walking.
  • Keep all your medical appointments.
  • Check to see if you are getting enough sleep and sleeping well. Please notify your doctor if you are having difficulty sleeping.