Caring for someone in your home is never an easy task; yet, it can be one of the greatest gifts you give. Being a caregiver requires patience, understanding and love. Although there are many positive things that happen when caregiving, there are also many challenges. Knowing that these challenges will occur may help alleviate some of the stress.
Challenges You May Face
- Caregiving can be hard work.
- Your life will change.
- As a caregiver, you may have someone dependent on you 24 hours a day.
- Doing the activities you love may become more difficult.
- You may have a great deal of information thrown at you all at once.
- You may have to administer medications.
- Your home may become very busy.
- The level of privacy you once had may now be different.
- You may be receiving many opinions from numerous people.
- You may have several offers to help but you aren’t sure what to ask for.
1. Acknowledge that caregiving can be the hardest job you will ever have.
2. Plan that your life will change. Know that things will be different and although there will be challenging days, there will also be many wonderful experiences and gifts that you will receive.
3. Assess all of your options for help with caregiving.
4. Plan out what is most important to you and what you need to do to for your own self-care. Make a list of those things that you want to continue and stick to your plan. You need to do things for yourself and stay healthy.
5. Keep a notebook/journal. Write down every single thing that you want to remember. You may think that you won’t forget but with so much information even the best memory can be challenged.
6. Utilize a medication reminder. Pick one day of the week to fill a med box for the next week. Write down when any medication is given. Ask questions.
7. Allow an area of your home to be free of traffic. Let there be one area (it may even just be a corner of a room) that is just yours. Surround this area/room with things that bring you comfort and a sense of calmness.
8. Keep in mind that there are many people that just want to help. Sometimes feedback you receive can be helpful and sometimes it can not. Realize that your situation is unique. Take the tips that you find are helpful and use them. Discard the information that you feel doesn’t fit and feel no guilt.
9. Take people up on their offers. People really do want to help and you will be helping them in return.
10. If your loved one is receiving hospice care, look into volunteer programs that may be able to provide you with some breaks in caregiving. Hospice programs may also be able to arrange a five day respite stay for your loved one out of your home in an environment that is staffed with trained professionals.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to be a caregiver. You just need to take it one day at a time.
About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, nonprofit hospice serving more than 30 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hrrv.org.