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New to family caregiving?

Caregiving encompasses a number of roles and is much more challenging than expected. Not only can caregiving be physically demanding it can be stressful and emotionally draining especially when caring for a family member. Your day may include “easier” tasks like running errands, cleaning the home and cooking meals, or complete control all their daily requirements such as bathing, medical care adherence and hygiene which may entail heavy lifting.

As you get started in your new role, here are some things to consider:

  • Do your research to learn about the condition or illness so that you know what to expect and how to help.
  • Encourage independence where possible, this creates a sense of accomplishment and freedom while building up self esteem. It is difficult for your family member to be dependant.
  • Partner with the health care team to create the best care program possible.
  • Take a moment to manage your expectations, you may not be able to “fix” the problem, but you can provide the love, support, and the daily caregiving that is required.
  • Ask for help. Whether from other family members, support groups, friends or health care providers. You can not provide the best care if you do not take care of yourself too.
  • Places to get information and help include:

  • Alzheimer's Association
  • Family Caregiver Alliance
  • AARP
  • Blogs and other support
  • Caregiver Action Network
  • National Association of Area Agencies on Aging

    Also check for local resources. Your community may have these resources or similar organization that can give you support:

  • Aging & Disabilities Resource Center
  • Health and Human Services
  • Churches
  • Mental Health agencies
  • To give your best as a caregiver, remember to take advantage of resources available to you.