Are You a Caregiver?

If you are currently aging-in-place or are considering doing so, or if one or more of your elder family members are doing so, care giving is likely to be a subject of interest.

Many families begin by trying to take care of themselves or their loved-ones who, at the start, might need only a small amount of support or care. As you might imagine, the level of care required tends to increase over time.  It is then that care giving can become an emotional roller coaster for all parties.

If you (or a family member) are helping to provide care to someone you love who is aging in place, it’s important to be mindful of your own needs as well, and here are some ideas about how caregivers can also take proper care of themselves.

  1. Ask for and accept help, you may not be able to do it alone. As the saying goes, “it can take a village.” There are many resources available. Don’t wait until you are exhausted and overwhelmed.
  2. Information is power. Be proactive, see an elder law attorney, review and discuss finances with a financial advisor; research benefits such as Veteran’s benefits and explore options such as daycare and home assistance.
  3. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or feeling poorly, “put your oxygen mask on first.”
  4. Join a support group.
  5. Try to keep informed about your loved one’s medical needs; this may involve talking to their physician, possibly by joining them on visits.
  6. Tell your own physician that you are involved in care giving, and talk about your needs.
  7. Manage your stress, exercise, get respite and take time for you.