Caregiving 101

 

This Caregiving 101 page is not about providing you with caregiver skills or connecting you up with services. It's about providing you with insight on what type of situations caregivers find themselves in. It's about showing you that you aren't alone. It's about letting you know that no question is inappropriate. It's showing us all the human side of caring for those we love - our older family members.

The rest of the Full Circle of Care Caregiver Website will provide you with the other information you seek. Let this page connect you with the shared experience of caring for an older family member. You are not alone. Your experience is universal and there is help available.

 

**

Question:

I've been hearing a lot about "caregiving". I haven't even thought about what I would need to do if my folks started having problems. Where should I start?

Answer:

Planning for the future is the key. Start by talking with your folks about how they would want things handled if they became unable to do for themselves. Ask the "what if..." questions. What if I couldn't walk up the stairs to our bedroom anymore? What if the taxes on our home go up? What if I die unexpectedly? These are important considerations. If it feels uncomfortable having these conversations, check out web resources that help with the right words. Consult a professional estate planner or financial planner or attorney if they have a large estate or many assets or a potentially complicated tax situation. If not, you may be able to use other resources. Planning doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Do your homework and know that your family member's wishes will be carried out and that you will be prepared and can focus on meeting their needs.

One other thing, work to keep them healthy and independent for as long as possible. It wouldn't hurt for you to work on that as well.

 

**

Question:

My Mom has started to forget some things. Should I be worried?

Answer:

Everyone forgets things from time to time. If you notice that the frequency has increased or if it is causing her concern or if you are worried about her safety because of it, talk to her doctor. Medications can cause forgetfulness. Stress and depression can too. Start noticing when the episodes happen and see if they seem to happen at particular times of the day or when certain things occur. Your doctor can advise you whether or not it would be helpful to get a Geriatric Evaluation.

 

**

Question:

I need to arrange for some help in the home for my parents. Where do I start?

Answer:

It is always helpful to fully understand what you need before you start, irrespective of what is currently available locally. Use the online checklist to help you identify where your parents are having difficulty. Use this information to consult with local Information & Assistance Specialists and/or Caregiver Specialists and/or your local Department of Social Services to help you determine what services are available locally to meet the needs you identified by using the checklist.

In-Home Care may be just the answer you need. Work with the specialists to determine if your parents have multiple needs, what is available locally to meet those needs, and how you can pay for the needed care.

Check out caregiver resources online to help you understand the many options that might be available to you.

 

**

Question:

I can no longer care for my Dad at home. What do I do?

Answer:

Assisted Living or Nursing Home Care may be an option. Your local long-term care ombudsmen can be a valuable resource.

 

**

Question:

My Mom was just diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Help!!

Answer:

Alzheimer's Disease and dementia are especially hard on caregivers. Your family member is fine sometimes and can't recognize you other times. The gradual deterioration is very hard to watch. Start by talking to your family member about how they want their affairs handled. Start researching how care can be paid for. Work on making your Mom's home safe. Get connected to a support group. And begin NOW to take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of her.

 

**

Question:

My name is Carrie. My Aunt has gotten a bit shaky and unstable and I help her around the house a little. My friend says I am a caregiver but I feel like I am just a family member helping family. Who is right?

Answer:

Carrie,  instead of thinking about whether or not you are a caregiver, think instead about why your Aunt is "shaky and unstable". A visit to her doctor would be a good first step. It is important to find out the cause of the problem. It could be the need for protein. It could be the medications she takes. It could be any number of things or a combination of several. What you find out will guide what your next step should be.

Some things you might consider are to find out if she is a good candidate for a walker or a cane to help steady her gait when you aren't around. Make sure her home is safe of potential hazards and consider getting a medic alert system for her. Talk to her about whether she is concerned for her safety when at home alone. Talk to her about her options for care in her home or alternative housing options where she would have someone there to make sure she was safe and cared for.

Carrie, you are providing a valuable service to your Aunt, your family, and the community. You are helping your Aunt to safely remain in her own home for as long as possible. Yes, Carrie, you are a caregiver.

Older Man
Mother and Daughter
Grandmother with Granddaughter

 

 

 

 

Compass

Let Us Help You Navigate Your Way

 

    Bookmark and Share