It may have been presumed, or perhaps blindsided you out of the blue—Mom has just received an official diagnosis for a progressive disease that will make independent life much more challenging. While there are lots of uncertainties, one thing is for sure: she is insistent about remaining at home – meaning you will have some decisions to make on how to provide the kind of caregiver support she will need.
Welcome to the world of family caregiving! If you’re feeling a bit stressed with what can be expected next, these caregiver support strategies can certainly help.
- Learn as much as you are able to in regards to the disease. The senior’s doctor can provide you with educational materials and resources that will help you know what to expect and to increase confidence in your family caregiving role.
- Get organized. Obtain a folder in which to store important paperwork: test results, prescription details, contact information for physicians’ offices together with the pharmacy, and any other relevant medical information. Start a journal to help keep track of any changes in condition or concerns that arise, along with the details surrounding those changes.
- Put aside past hurts. A new diagnosis may cause old family dynamics to resurface. If unsettled issues are interfering with your ability to provide the best care, seek the support of a professional counselor to work through them.
- Establish boundaries together. Talk to the individual about how much and what kind of help would be beneficial. It is normal to want to step in and take over, nevertheless, it’s necessary for the senior to maintain as much independence and control as possible.
- Take proper care of yourself, too. Your own personal health and wellness are equally important. And, the level of care you provide can be affected if your own needs are not being met. Prioritize and designate time each and every day for self-care by seeking out and accepting help from others.
It’s important to know about the possibility for caregiver burnout and depression and to do something immediately should you start to experience warning signs like:
- Increased agitation, anxiety, and irritability
- Withdrawing from social interactions
- Lack of interest in once-enjoyed pastimes
- Lack of appetite
- Problems with falling or staying asleep
- Challenges with focus and concentration
Identifying a dependable care partner will provide you with time to see the doctor for a checkup to rule out any other possible health problems, to speak with a counselor to effectively work through the countless emotions involved in caregiving, and to relax and recharge.
The caregiving team at Home Sweet Home In-Home Care is here with further resources for family caregivers, as well as skilled, dependable respite care Dowagiac, MI, and other Michigan communities prefer most. Call our location closest to you for a free in-home consultation on how our customized home care services can help your family:
- Battle Creek: (269) 963-9888
- Kalamazoo: (269) 373-5444
- Paw Paw: (269) 763-5350
- St. Joseph: (269) 849-9252
If you’d like more details on all of the different areas we serve in Michigan, please visit our Locations page.