Being a family caregiver can be a rewarding, and at times, stressful task when providing support for a loved one. While the situation itself may not change, there are some things you can do as a caregiver to optimize their life and yours.

Be Proactive

The first rule in caregiving is to stay positive. By continuing to see the glass half full, you enable your loved one to view optimism as their example as well. While their health may not be ideal, the one component both parties can control is attitude. Having an active flow of communication will not only help, but the person you’re caring for as well. Keep tabs on doctors’ visits, prescriptions, diagnoses, treatments, and medical stays, so that you are aware of the various activities your loved one is experiencing. Communicating the physicians’ intentions in a way that your loved one can comprehend shows an effort to keep them in the conversation. In your continuation of support, always remember to make them feel loved and appreciated. Their opinion is valued.

Take Care of Yourself

Caregiving is a full time job which many family members are never paid for. This act of love requires a high expectancy of work, stress, and time. Often family caregivers find themselves having increased anxiety or depression after caring for a loved one for an extended time period. To help prevent this, it is very beneficial to schedule time each day or week to yourself. Whether it’s seeking the help from another friend or family member, or hiring professional services (such as our Home Support program), or taking a break as a breath of air to an otherwise task-oriented schedule. Reaching out to connect with other friends or family members offers an outlet to share your feelings, conversations and current struggles with. Caregiving is one of the greatest gestures a person can do for another, and it’s a team effort. Even if you take the lead in your caregiving role, don’t be afraid to ask for some back up in ensuring your own health.

Legalize It

In the world of healthcare, there are many rules and regulations. If your loved is reaching an end-of-life stage this step becomes incredibly important. By working with a lawyer and the medical facility, it is possible to establish a health care proxy in case the person you’re caring for can no longer make their own medical decisions. At times, this will also call for legal power of attorney. If your loved one is capable of signing legally binding documents, it may be time for them to decide whom they want to be responsible for those decisions. Unfortunately, circumstances can arise where certain medical measures may or may not be taken to sustain life. Completing a living will can ensure that if your loved one does not want life preserving measures taken, it is documented in a legal binding will.

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