Many times it takes an emergency or a hospitalization of your loved one to have you realize you’re a caregiver. Other moments of realization can be while you pick up Dad after surgery and the discharge nurse is talking away at you and you can’t hear a thing as you’re focused on getting Dad dressed and transported. A very scary moment is upon getting a diagnosis of: cancer, organ failure or Alzheimer’s Disease that might be terminal for your loved one. This is usually where being a Caregiver really begins. You have now been dubbed a Caregiver.
Here are 5 steps you can take now to begin your journey:
- Learn all that you can about the illness, disease, or medical condition of your loved one. Research and ask doctors as many questions as you can think of.
- Is there insurance coverage? What is covered and by what plan and what is not? Medicare does not cover home care.
- Talk to your family. Who amongst your family, neighbors and friends can you call on to share the load in looking after your loved one, transportation, living arrangements, meals, and other problem solving?
- Get important documents in order and use our free Hot List and other checklists found here http://caretocaregiver.org/free/
- Don’t neglect yourself or the rest of your immediate family. Ask for help to share the burdens and schedule precious time wisely.
Being aware of your own feelings, stressors, and balancing act is important. Then be proactive in communication. You really can’t over communicate. Using active listening skills will help lower the tension and misunderstandings while talking with family.