The same woman doing 5 things: Research, talking with a friend, going to a support group, being organized, and standing in a doctor's waiting room.

How to Provide Care: 5 Helpful Tips for Caregivers

The role of a caregiver can become a challenging job, both emotionally and physically. Caregivers take on many responsibilities to support their loved ones.

The better prepared you are in managing life as a caregiver or care partner to a loved one, the easier the outlook will be for everyone.

5 helpful tips for caregivers

1. Take care of you

As a caregiver, you have an important job to do. However, the most important job is to take the best care of yourself.

Take time for yourself, eat healthily, exercise regularly, stay positive, and continue with your personal and social life as much as possible. Try not to put your life on hold, and continue to enjoy your hobbies or social groups as much as you can.

Caregivers should also try to maintain as normal a schedule as is feasible. Find ways to relax and manage the stress. If necessary, ask for help yourself. You may be the support of your loved one, but it is certainly okay to need support as well. If you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or too stressed to think clearly, then you can’t be at your best, as a person or as a caregiver.

2. Educate yourself

Educate yourself as much as possible about your loved one’s health condition or disability, so you will know how to help. Learn as much as possible, without getting yourself overwhelmed by information.

Information overload is certainly an issue. However, you may be more effective if you are well informed and advised.

Utilizing support groups or online communities like ours can be a great place to start without feeling inundated with massive amounts of information.

Educating yourself will also help prepare you for any changes in your loved one’s symptoms or behavior. An effective caregiver is a well-informed caregiver.

3. Join a support group

Joining a support group is a great way to share feelings, experiences and gain helpful advice.

You may need someone to talk with openly and honestly, or someone to listen to and support you. It may be reassuring to know that you are not alone and that there are others on a similar journey as you.

4. Stay organized

Being organized and setting realistic goals can help both you and your loved one address each day.

Try as best as possible to be organized with medical information and records. Focus on making daily or weekly to-do lists and work with your loved one to make plans and goals.

Organize doctor’s appointments and prescriptions, and try to keep notes of physician encounters, changes in medications, symptoms, or behaviors.

5. Stay adaptable

There will be good and bad days along this journey. Staying adaptable to what each day brings will be essential for a positive outlook. Don’t be afraid to seek out help and ask for guidance.

The caregiver’s role can sometimes be challenging - from learning about the condition and how best to help your loved one to remembering to also care for yourself. It’s important to adjust to your new role while maintaining a healthy and supportive relationship with your loved one.

Let us know how you take on the responsibility of being a caregiver, or how your caregiver makes an impact on your journey!

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