In 2020, as life expectancy continues to increase, medical treatments continue to advance, and there is an ever-increasing number of people living long and meaningful lives with chronic illness and disabilities, many of us find ourselves either directly caring for or overseeing care for a loved one at home.

Whether you’re taking care of an aging parent, a disabled spouse, or a child with a special need, providing care for a family member in need is an act of selfless love that comes with many challenges. Although it may feel overwhelming at times, you really do not have to be a medical expert or a superhero to be a good caregiver. Moreover, you are not a failure if you seek respite, support or guidance. In fact, those that do seek support are often more effective caregivers and do not have to feel they are sacrificing their lives in the process, making it a more rewarding experience for both the caregiver and the patient.

Though we recognize that it’s often easier said than done from those on the outside of a special circumstance looking in, there are some tips and tools that may help you get the support you need while caring for someone you love in way that can benefit both of you.

  1. Take the time to learn as much as you can about your loved one’s situation and how to care for it. The more you know, the less anxiety you’ll feel about your new role and the more effective you’ll be.
  2. Utilize support groups to seek out other caregivers, whether through face-to-face or online. There is a certain level of comfort that goes along with giving and receiving support from others who understand exactly what you’re going through.
  3. Know your limit and be honest with those involved. It’s important to be realistic about how much of your time you can give and when you’re going to need added support – there is no shame in that.  
  4. Support and encourage your loved one’s independence. Being a caregiver does not mean you have to everything for your loved one. Often, a wider range of independence will lengthen and strengthen someone’s quality of life
  5. Trust your instincts – that doesn’t mean you should ever ignore the recommendations or diagnoses from a medical professional but listen to your gut, too – doctors can make mistakes and you need to feel comfortable advocating for yourself and your loved one.
  6. Accept your feelings and do not feel guilty for having them – this can be an overwhelming experience and it is ok to have wavering emotions – just recognize that the right support for your situation may help you through it.

The American Society on Aging posted a list of 25 organizations that take care of the caregivers. Consider consulting this list and finding a group or organization that might be able to help. For more support with the hands on care of your loved one, you may consider long term care assistance.

Here at Premier, we are a Licensed Home Care Services Agency providing long term home health care to individuals by a licensed, bonded, trained and certified home health aide supported by many long term care insurances, MLTC plans and private pay.

In addition, we are a Fiscal Intermediary for the CDPAP: Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program for New York State, where we facilitate payment for family/friends caring for loved ones who qualify.

If any of the above services sound like something that could be of support to you and your loved one, please feel free to give us a call at 866-720-0124 to speak to one of our home care specialists! We also offer live chat options with our specialists on our website at www.premierhomehealthcare.com.