It may have come totally without warning: an unanticipated fall that caused a broken hip and the need for Mom to have help and support to remain at home. Or, it may have been building up over time, such as through the incremental and slow progression of dementia. No matter what the circumstances, you have now found yourself in the part of family caregiver, and perhaps are wondering exactly what that means, how to navigate these uncharted waters and some basic tips for caregiving effectively.
To start with, take a deep breath, and a minute to acknowledge the selflessness of your choice. Caregiving is an incredibly rewarding undertaking, but not without its struggles. A bit of proactive planning will go a long way towards an easier transition to care, both for yourself and your loved one. A good starting point is to consider the manner in which you would both like each day to be structured, making a simple timeline to record the daily tasks and activities that will need your attention. For example:
- 7 a.m.: Help Mom get out of bed, showered, dressed, and ready for the day
- 8 a.m.: Make breakfast and clean up
- 9 a.m.: Take Mom to physical therapy and/or exercise class
- 11 a.m.: Run errands with (or for) Mom
- 1 p.m.: Prepare lunch and tidy up
- 2 p.m.: Help Mom get settled in for afternoon activities: a movie, nap, reading, puzzles, participating in a well-loved hobby or pastime, etc.
- 6 p.m.: Make dinner and clean up
- 8 p.m.: Help Mom with bedtime tasks – a bath, changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, etc.
- 10 p.m.: Help Mom get into bed
Your list will look different for each day, of course, but this offers a helpful overview to let you know when you might have a little downtime to yourself, and when you’ll need to provide hands-on help.
This is also a good time to establish boundaries together – and to agree to stick to them. Again, these will vary for each person and on different days, but decide what is essential to each of you: having a specific time each day for self-care and private time, when friends and family will come to visit, whether or not you need to maintain a job outside of the home, etc.
Understand that Home Sweet Home In-Home Care’s professional in-home caregivers in Portage, MI and surrounding areas are always here to help while you adjust to your caregiving role with the respite care needed to make certain you are able to care for yourself – something which is important to both you and the senior loved one in your care. Reach out to us at (866) 229-2505 to learn more.