Raise your hand if you do any of the following: drive a loved one to a doctor’s visit, make meals for this loved one, help this loved one make medical decisions or call this person regularly to check on them.
Unbeknownst to you, you’ve become a family caregiver. Whether you live with your loved one or not, you’re investing hours and hours of your time to support your loved one with their daily activities because they may be too weak or too sick to help themselves. Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
According to caregiveraction.org, there are more than 65 million people providing care for a chronically ill, disabled or aging family member or friend. With that, these people are spending an average of 20 hours per week helping out this loved one.
It’s estimated that the cost of such caregiving adds up to about $375 billion a year – about twice as much as is spent on home care and nursing home services combined, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare.
Here are some tips to provide comfortable care if you’ve unknowingly become your loved one’s caregiver.
For physical support:
- Ask them to describe any pain they may feel on a scale of 0 to 10.
- Write these things down for the next doctor’s visit
- Once at the doctor’s office, be sure to write down the answers and keep them in a journal so you can look it up later if your loved one is in pain.