Being a family caregiver looks extremely complicated from the outside. If you’ve never taken care of someone on any sort of extensive basis, especially someone with health problems, you may feel as if there’s a lot for you to learn.
Start Having Conversations Now
Even if your elderly family member is still self-sufficient now, you need to start talking about the future. You need to have an idea what she wants and what she expects from caregiving. Having these talks as soon as possible helps you both to get on the same page. This is going to give you both fewer surprises down the road.
Remember Your Senior Is a Person
This sounds like an obvious statement, but very often caregivers get all caught up in meeting needs and forget that their senior is a person with autonomy. Your senior isn’t a child or someone who doesn’t know her own mind. Remembering that she’s a person can help you to avoid accidentally stepping on her toes.
Learn as Much as You Can
You’re going to need to educate yourself as much as possible, starting now. The more that you learn the better you’ll be able to help your aging adult. You’ll also start to understand just what you need to ask when you have the opportunity to talk to experts and to your senior’s doctor.
You Don’t Have to Do it All Now
There’s a big misconception for new caregivers that you have to go all in now, right out of the gate. But that isn’t necessarily the case. Your senior may only need a little bit of help, or help only in certain circumstances, now. It’s perfectly fine for your responsibilities to ramp up gradually.
Get Help Early
Something that you need to be aware of as a caregiver is that not only do you not have to do it all now, you don’t have to do it all alone, either. Start getting help now, especially from elder care providers. They can help you to shorten the learning curve that you’re going to experience as a caregiver. This enables you to provide your senior with the best experience that you possibly can from here on out.
Being a family caregiver isn’t something that you have to worry about doing perfectly. You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to wish you did some things differently along the way. But ultimately what’s important is that you’re there for your aging adult when she needs you the most.