Most of us have to face the sobering fact that we will one day be a caretaker to a loved one. Either because of a sudden illness, age or a critical disability, being thrust into the role can be extremely overwhelming if not prepared.
We’ve gathered a few key tips that can help caretakers not only provide support for their loved ones, but themselves as well.
1. Start talking about caregiving now
It’s always great to start talking to your loved ones about their care contingency plans early on. For example, adult children might want to have these conversations around the time their parents turn 70, even if they aren’t showing signs of slowing down. Ask them what their preferences are if they fall ill. Is this something they’d like to take care of in-house? Would they like to live with you, or perhaps a senior center would best fit their wants and needs. No one wants to talk about it. But for the betterment of you and your loved ones’ future, you have to.
2. Talk to others who’ve done it
There are lots of tough questions that come along with becoming a caregiver. How do you properly take care of a grown adult without taking away their sense of agency? How will you structure their daily diet plan? Will you allow them to drive? They are daunting but luckily you can get some real answers. There are many local resources that offer insight into how caregivers can provide the best support for their loved ones and themselves, like the Red Cross, the National Family Caregivers Association, or the local Area Agency on Aging. There are also often classes in caregiving at community centers that could help out significantly. Also, think about consulting a geriatric caseworker who can properly assess challenges.