Paradigm Health’s hospice and palliative care community-based approach supports caregivers in many ways.
You can’t define caregiver without using the word “help” in most cases. And oftentimes the help needed to look after a sick, elderly, or disabled person can be a gradual transition or can happen instantaneously. Either way – you’ve become a caregiver.
The caregiver role can be full of questions like what should I be doing, what assistance from others can I get, and most often — where can I find help? If you are caring for a friend or family with a need for palliative or hospice care, the answer to these questions can be answered by Paradigm Health’s expert caregiving team.
Tips for Caregivers
Here are some initial tips to onboarding your caregiving role:
I’m a caregiver — setting new priorities.
Understanding your new role and the scope of care needed is a priority. Make a list of the caregiving tasks you’ll be responsible for and then ask for help. Some caregiving tasks might be as simple as providing companionship to being responsible for cooking, cleaning, medical appointments, personal care, medicine management, and handling bills.
Knowledge is power.
It may feel as though you are learning to speak a new language but becoming informed and educated about the individual’s condition and diagnosis that you will be caring for is crucial. You will need to know what to expect and having timely medical information can allow insightful and prepared caregiving. Knowing the basic information about your loved one is also important and you may want to begin a binder or way to keep all information organized and at your fingertips.
Working and caregiving can be a balancing act.
If your new caregiving role requires more of a “full time” approach the Family Medical Leave Act can offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for family who may need to take time off for caregiving. For some, continuing to work full time and fulfill the needs of caregiving before and after work can be difficult. Asking for help or making a schedule that includes others who have said they could help will make the caregiving role less intense.
A healthy individual is a healthy caregiver.
Many caregivers find there is little time for themselves and begin to neglect their own needs, health regiments, neglect appointments and put themselves last on their list of daily tasks. Try to create a reasonable balance between your caregiving role and your own usual life cadence. For example, taking time to maintain your exercise routine will reap mental and physical health benefits that will ultimately translate to being a healthy caregiver.
There is a lot to know.
From understanding insurance policies, estates and wills, medical documents and end-of-life wishes, there is a lot of information to digest and act upon. Creating an ongoing and growing list of contacts matched up with what role they do currently or will perform in the future will help you to know where to go for support, information, and assistance as you navigate the caregiving process.
Ask for help.
Realizing you may need help with your caregiving role is empowering – not a sign of weakness. We oftentimes believe we can “do it all” only to find that it takes a toll on our own mental and physical wellbeing as well as leaves gaps in caregiving. Organize what tasks need to be completed, prioritize those, and then ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, etc. Only a few people helping can make a big difference in the overall care for your loved one and relieve some of the burden.
Caregiving can be a time-consume new role for many. Beyond continuing to nurture your own mental and physical wellbeing – continue to do social things you usually do and take a few moments to do something enjoyable or relaxing. Perhaps it is just a few moments with a book or walking your dog or quiet time to meditate — don’t forget that a rejuvenated caregiver can better face the challenges and rewards of being a caregiver if they take time to stay centered and refreshed.
We can help.
Paradigm Health’s community-based, holistic approach to caregiving can help patients and families traveling the palliative and hospice care journey. Asking for help, guidance, support and insight is the first step. Give yourself credit for all you do as a caregiver and find ways to reward yourself for working hard. Call today to 317-635-6001 or visit our Caregiving Resources page.