Becoming a caretaker for your parent or loved one can be a difficult adjustment and role reversal. Juggling life, work and care giving is no easy feat. Setting yourself up with a support system and understanding the road ahead is important in making the situation less challenging. Here are some steps you can take to ensure the best possible outcome:
Make decisions incrementally. There is no need to make big decisions right away. Start small, and take things day by day. This will make things easier on you and your loved one.
Have an honest conversation with your family member. It may be a difficult topic when addressing one’s inability to complete tasks they once could, but being caring and listening can go a long way.
Organize. Managing issues around health care, legal and financial matters can generate a lot of paperwork. Make a task list and file paperwork where you can easily access all legal documents when needed.
Remember to prioritize yourself. The best way to help your loved one is to pay attention to your own health and needs. Step back and take a break to nurture yourself daily. Take a walk, read a book, watch a movie or anything that you enjoy.
Keep calm. If your loved one becomes agitated, even if you are frustrated, stay calm. Keep your requests clear and simple. Know when to back off for the time being, before trying again later when they may be more cooperative.
Treating yourself and your loved one with kindness and patience will make a world of difference.
“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.” Mother Teresa