At the beginning stages of caregiving, it will be a struggle for you because you won’t know who to turn to for help. You’re new to the family caregiver scene. It’s confusing and sometimes frightening. And it may be the first time that your relative needs your help. This is a first time experience for the two of you and equally scary for both.
Maybe there’s a sudden change in the relative’s health or over time, chronic illness has made them weak and dependent.You must take action now and learn to reach out to people, services, and information that will be a guide for you to help care for a loved one. The earlier you act and find support, the sooner you’ll get a handle on the confusion and frustration that is often experienced in the caregiving process.
You may be familiar with the 40/70 rule. If you, the family member is age 40, and your relative is 70 years of age or older, then it’s time to have “the talk” about senior care issues. Actually, elder care conversations should begin much earlier than 70. The sooner you bring up the difficult topics —who will care for you, can you afford care at home and can you pay for assisted living — the easier the conversations will be.
When is a good time to have the talk? The best time is when a parent or relative is in good health, active, and independent.But if you have waited too long and a parent is in the hospital needing your help on what to do next, then you must reach out to the local community and get support.
Local and national support organizations include:
Know what caregivers face. The challenges of direct care are:
Self-care is important for all caregivers. Follow these often:
Carol Marak is a contributor for the senior living and health care market. She advocates older adults and family caregivers by writing on tough topics like chronic issues, senior care and housing.