1) Learn About the Resources Available to You. Consult books, websites, workshops and eldercare professionals. (Hint: You can find leads to many of these, including the latest caregiving information, at our website, www.agingpro.com.)
2) Educate Yourself About Any Disease Involved. Education can relax your fears and give you clarity and strength.
3) Take Care of Yourself First. Maintain your own physical and emotional health. Avoid caregiver burnout – your family needs the caregivers to be healthy!
4) Learn Caregiving Techniques. Learn about topics such as: communication and organizational skills, managing the physical needs of your loved one, safety and emergency preparedness.
5) Exercise Your Sense of Humor. Smile. You can go through difficult situations laughing or crying. If it’s going to be funny later, it can be funny now.
6) Communicate with Doctors. Get to know your loved one’s physicians. Ask questions, express concerns and discuss treatment options.
7) Keep a Positive Focus. We can’t think positive all the time, but holding a positive focus about the strengths of your loved one and the blessings in the situation will help your attitude and emotions to stay “up.”
8) Discuss the Situation With your Loved Ones. Support and honesty are essential in navigating long term care.
9) Look for the Blessings. You might be surprised at the hidden gifts that caregiving brings – keep your eyes open. You find what you focus upon.
10) Ask for Help. You don’t have to be alone. www.AgingPro.com offers many free resources for caregiver support nationwide, to assist you.