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Diseases & Conditions

Tips for Caregivers

The following tips offer some guidance on how to maintain and improve your caregiving relationship

  • Take time for yourself. Make sure you have time to relax. If necessary, enlist the help of other family members or even hire someone to help out.
  • Learn as much as you can about your loved one's disease so you will know how you can help. You'll also understand what changes to expect in your loved one's behavior or symptoms.
  • Help your loved one participate in as many activities in the home and outside the home as possible. Maintain the balance between helping your loved one accomplish a task and actually doing the task for him or her. Allow your loved one the time needed to complete daily activities on his or her own, such as dressing.
  • Consult your loved one about his or her family affairs. Although it's not easy to discuss these topics, you should be informed of your loved one's wishes regarding a living will, durable power of attorney for health care, and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself and your loved one. Do not attempt to do everything. By setting attainable goals, you are setting everyone up for success, rather than disappointment.
  • Do not put your life on hold. Continue to meet with friends, participate in hobbies or groups, and maintain a schedule as normal as possible. You will feel more energized and are less likely to feel resentful.
  • Have someone you can talk to. You are there for your loved one, to listen and to offer support, but you also need a support person. Talk openly and honestly with a friend or family member. If this is not possible, join a support group.
  • Consider joining a support group or talking to a counselor to address specific concerns about caring for your loved one at home. Understanding that you are not alone and that someone else is in a similar situation helps you to feel nurtured.

The most effective caregiver is well informed and prepared, and ASKS for help and support from all resources that are available.

References

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 12/31/2011...#9441

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