The first thing to remember if you’re a caregiver is to be sure you take care of yourself. Caring for a loved one who is sick or has recently undergone surgery is both essential to his or her recovery and also taxing on you personally, as you juggle caregiving along with your regular activities.
To start, get as organized as possible so you have the patient’s medical records, doctor phone numbers, and medication schedule handy and accessible. An in-home nurse can show you how to feed, bathe and dress your loved one if their condition warrants it. Always feel free to assertively ask questions of his or her medical providers so that you have the answers and guidance you need.
While you’re supporting their recovery, be sure you seek out support of your own. Ask medical professionals or search online to find caregiver support groups where you can discuss the experience, process your feelings, and relieve any loneliness. If your loved one is a senior adult, call (800) 677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov to find local services or visit caregiveraction.org and www.caregiver.org.
If you need help, reach out to other family members, neighbors or friends who might be able to relieve you. You can assign specific tasks to keep the assistance well organized. Having others offer help means you can take time off for breaks and to catch up on your personal needs. If necessary, seek a social worker who can arrange home health care to free you up without compromising the quality of care.