f you've just become a caregiver, you're probably feeling overwhelmed. You're trying to figure out how to juggle all the tasks, how to make sure everything gets done, how to help your loved one stay healthy and happy. And at the same time, you're just trying to get through each day without falling apart.
But it gets easier. There are some things that can help make life easier for both of you.
Managing the day-to-day.
One of the first challenges you’ll face as a caregiver is keeping track of all your loved one's appointments, medications and other needs while managing your own life.
Then there are everyday chores, such as doing laundry, planning and preparing meals, shopping for groceries—and cleaning the house or apartment.
Here are some tips to help you through the challenging months ahead:
Learn as much as you can about your loved one’s medical conditions.
Know what to expect as your loved one’s condition progresses. It’s vital that you can make informed decisions about the care he or she will receive and whether it requires outside help.
Share the responsibility. Don’t try to go it completely alone.
If possible, try to share the caregiving responsibilities with other family members or friends who may be able to help out with some of the tasks. If this isn’t possible, consider hiring an in-home caregiver.
Join a support group. It’s easier to deal with the challenges of caregiving if you have someone to talk to.
You will inevitably have feelings of frustration and despair. You won’t always know what to do or how to help—and that’s okay! It is important to know that there are people out there who understand what you are going through, even if they haven’t been in your exact situation.
You may find yourself feeling isolated during this time, but joining a support group can help with that because other caregivers will understand the challenges you face as well as provide advice on how to handle them. This will help with avoiding caregiver burnout.
Lean on technology. People often make mistakes when they are under stress or too busy to think carefully about what they're doing.
Technology can help you remember things, communicate with others, and find information. It can also stay organized, keep connected, and help you track your loved one's health and safety.
If you want to learn more about what types of technology can help you as a caregiver, check out this article.
We hope this article has helped you better understand what it means to be a first-time caregiver.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry! We all do. Find someone to talk to and lean on technology when needed. Remember that care work is important and worth doing well, but also remember that there will always be someone who can help if need be.
If you're caregiving for a loved one with Dementia, check out our class: Dementia: Conquering the Challenges of Caregiving to gain resources and support.