Often times, our clients' adult children come to us for advice on how best to care for their parents during a tough time, such as an illness or recovering from surgery. Perhaps they have never been in that caregiver role before, at least with their own parents, and they aren't sure the best course of action. Even if you've raised children or worked in an environment where you cared for the sick or disabled, nothing quite prepares you to take care of a parent or grandparent once they need it the most.
Here are some tips on how to become a great caregiver:
All too often, we get caught up in our own lives and worries that we forget that sometimes all our loved ones want from us is to stop and listen. Maybe instead of rushing them around town to pick up their groceries, you take a few minutes to sit with them and ask them how they are doing. The last thing they want is to feel like they are a burden, so if you don't take time to talk to them, they may feel like you don't have time for them. Make a special trip to just visit with them. Maybe bring them some flowers for their kitchen table or bedside, and a little note that says 'we love you.' Don't neglect the relationship just because it's hard.
This may seem like common sense, but communication is key in the relationship between a person and their caregiver. If they can't talk through challenges or questions, it makes everything more difficult. Whenever there's confusion, try to ask more questions so you better understand the situation. Ask your loved one how you can make their day brighter or easier. Sometimes if we just be quiet a moment, others will feel comfortable enough to share more. Also, don't be afraid to share your own feelings or concerns. The more transparent you are with your loved one, they more they will appreciate you and do the same.
3. Find Resources
Whenever we are facing challenges in our lives, whether financial or medical, we seek help. Often times we turn to mentors, doctors or advisors to assist us through the process. Don't underestimate the power of such resources with your loved one. If they have Alzheimer's or Dementia, there are lots of tools online to assist you and your family. At Kind Companions, our caregivers are trained in these difficult diseases, and equipped to provide tips and ideas on how to best help your loved one. There are also many forums and support groups available to you, which may be beneficial if you are doing this for the first time. We also provide help with loved ones so our clients' adult children can go out of town for business, attend children's events and more. We know it's tough to trust those you love with someone else, and we take our role very seriously.
We hope these tips help you as you juggle the many challenges and duties of being a caregiver. As always, if we can help you or your family in any way, please don't hesitate to contact us here.