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5 Tips for New Caregivers

Becoming a caregiver often means making big changes in your own life. You might be helping an aging parent or ailing loved one with cooking, cleaning, keeping track of medicine, getting to doctor’s appointments, and more.

It’s a lot to take on, so you may feel a bit overwhelmed at first. The tips below can help you adjust to your challenging new role.

  1. Learn how to care for your loved one properly. At times, you may need to learn new skills, such as how to give injections or prepare a special diet. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask your loved one’s health care team. Some hospitals offer classes for family members.

  2. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Make a list of tasks that need to be done. Then when others offer to help, let them choose which tasks they would like to be responsible for.

  3. Explore options for paid help as well. Some people just need a hand with daily activities, such as housekeeping or cooking. Others need home health care services, such as nursing or physical therapy. Check out whether your loved one is eligible to have some of these costs covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance.

  4. Be realistic about what you expect of yourself. Try not to feel guilty about those days when you’re frustrated and cranky. Many people would feel the same way if they were in your shoes. Share your feelings with someone you trust. Consider joining a caregiver support group.

  5. Make your personal health a priority. Stay physically active, eat healthy foods, and get enough sleep. Find time for friends and fun. And don’t neglect your own medical checkups and screenings. To be at your best as a caregiver, you need to take care of yourself, too.

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.