Caring for anyone is difficult, even in the best of circumstances.
Taking care of someone recovering from an illness or injury can be challenging. Many caregivers put too much pressure on themselves, but often the greatest help to a patient is allowing them to manage their own care while you remain in a supportive role.
- Take notes on special instructions for the patient and who gave them.
- Gather medical histories and lists of medications and keep them handy.
- Organize brochures and paperwork on medical care, benefits, resources, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc., in a labeled filing system.
- You may need to consult with a visiting nurse if your loved one will need help with meals, bathing and dressing after his or her stay in the hospital. The nurse will be happy to answer any of your questions and show you techniques to make such tasks easier to perform.
- Be prepared for your visit by writing down any questions or issues you don’t understand.
Taking Care of Yourself
Caring for someone in recovery is almost as stressful as being the patient. So it’s important that you don’t neglect your own care. Fortunately, many support groups provide caregivers with an outlet to share their feelings and discuss common problems. To find a caregiver support group near you, go to caregiveraction.org and www.caregiver.org. If you’re a caregiver for an older adult, call (800) 677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov.
Remember to say “yes” when your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers offer to help. Write down tasks that they can take care of for you so you will be prepared when those offers do come in. There’s no need to take on everything yourself.
Your health is important, too, so take breaks whenever possible, exercise regularly and don’t skip activities that lift your spirits. You may sometimes need to hire healthcare aides or a social worker to be able to take that needed break.