If you’re caring for someone on a long-term basis, the first thing to remember is the importance of taking care of yourself. Giving care to someone who is sick or recovering from surgery is essential to his or her healing process, but it’s also taxing to you personally, as you manage both caregiving and daily life.
You’ll find some peace of mind by first getting organized. Arrange the patient’s medical records, physician phone numbers, and medication schedule and keep them accessible. A home nurse can demonstrate how to bathe, dress and feed your loved one if the situation necessitates it. Always feel free to ask assertive questions of your medical providers, so you have all the information you need.
Be sure you seek support for yourself throughout the process. Ask hospital staff or search online to find support groups where you can share your caregiving experience and feelings, and alleviate loneliness. If your loved one is elderly, call (800) 677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov to locate services, or go online to caregiveraction.org and www.caregiver.org.
If the work gets to be more than you can handle, ask family members, friends or neighbors to relieve you. You can assign each person specific tasks to keep the care effort organized. Having help gives you a chance to take breaks and spend time on personal tasks. If necessary, a social worker can arrange home health care to give you respite without forsaking any quality of care.