As Rosalyn Carter noted, “There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need a caregiver.”
Understanding that caregiving is a universal experience means that we don’t have to view it as uncharted territory. We can utilize other’s knowledge regarding best practices to help alleviate stress and make the time spent providing care safe for all involved. Below are a few key points to keep in mind when caring for a loved one in the home.
1. Cleanliness is key
When your loved one is sick, it’s important to guard them from unwelcome germs. When guests come into the home, have hand sanitizer by the door for them to use, and if necessary, rubber gloves and surgical masks. Keep surfaces wiped down and change your loved one’s bedding and clothing often.
2. Improve the safety of your home
Being sick can make maneuvering around, even familiar spaces, more difficult. Nightlights, non-slip floor mats, handrails and having a phone with emergency numbers nearby are cost-effective and easy ways to make you and your loved one feel more confident and safe while in the home.
3. Find or develop tools that work for you
- Keep a calendar to jot down appointments, doctor and nurse visits as well as important days you would like to celebrate with your loved one.
- Print off a medication log to ensure you don’t miss a dose.
- Make a checklist with important daily or weekly tasks to keep you from forgetting things like laundry, taking the trash out to the curb and meal prep.
- All of these simple tools can help alleviate the stress of having additional things on your plate.
4. Get familiar with community resources
The saying “it takes an army” rings true when it comes to taking care of a sick loved one. While you can certainly do it alone, research and take advantage of community programs and organizations within the community to assist where needed. These resources include meal delivery, adult day care services, respite programs and many more.
5. Take time to care for yourself
It’s been said that you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. Whether it’s something as small as a warm bath, going to see a movie or fitting in time for physical activity, it’s important to spend a bit of time focusing on yourself.
Caregiving can be stressful for even the most experienced and prepared, but utilizing these tips and others you find along the way, can help ease some frustrations and difficulties you may encounter. And remember, caring for a sick loved one is one of the most important jobs in the world. You are truly making a difference in someone’s life.
Hospice of the Red River Valley offers support for caregivers and family members of patients. We have many resources to help support you as a caregiver. Learn more. If you feel your loved one may be appropriate for hospice care, contact us. We can help more than you may know.
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.