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FactSheet:Caregiving Suggestions

From Sage for Aging


Although caregiving is very important task, it also can be very difficult, stressful, and frustrating. There may be times when you are both physically and mentally spent. You may get angry and vent it in unhealthy ways. You may feel that caregiving completely consumes all of your energy and your whole life. Here are some general suggestions that may help you be a better caregiver and take care of your own well being at the same time:

Learn All You Can About the Care Recipient's (CR's) Specific Disease or Medical Condition

The more informed you are about the nature of the CR's disease or medical condition, the better off you will be.

Use Caregiver Resources That Are Available and Helpful

There are many useful resources such as books, magazine articles, websites, support groups, social service agencies that may provide you with the tools and support that you need to be an effective caregiver. For example, you may find this wesite easy to use and helpful.

Share Your Concerns With the CR

The CR can often manage his or her problems even when there is mild to moderate cognitive impairment. Together you may be able to make adaptations such as memory aids that will help the CR maintain independence.

Solve Your Most Frustrating Problems One at a Time

Everyday problems can often be overwhelming. For example, preparing meals, getting the CR to eat, and then having to clean it all up can be challenging. The frustration can lead you to the end of your rope. Often working on one task at a time may make it less frustrating.

Get Enough Rest

Caregiving can be very demanding and you may not get enough rest or respite. Getting a reprive from caregiving can help you to be more patient and tolerant of irritating behaviors. You may need to seek outside resources to assist you in getting a break from your caregiving responsibilities.

Use Your Common Sense, Imagination and Creativity to Adapt to Various Situations

Being able to adapt to various situations with common sense, imagination, and creativity may help help you succeed. For example, if the CR insists on eating with his or her fingers, serve more finger foods. If the CR insists on sleeping with a hat on, let it be. What’s the harm?

Maintain a Sense of Humor

Humor can get you through many crises. The CR may need to enjoy a good laugh too. Discussing your experiences with other care givers can help you find the humor in some of your shared experiences.

Strive for Freedom

Try to provide an environment that allows for as much freedom as possible but also offers the structure that the CR needs. Establish a routine for meals, medication, exercise, bedtime, and any other activities. Do tasks at the same time every day. This helps the CR know what to expect and when. Change the routine only when it ceases to work. Keep the environment simple and clutter free.

Remember to Talk to the CR

Speak calmly and gently. Make a point of telling the CR what you are doing and why. Let the CR take part in discussions and decision making. Avoid talking about the CR in from of him or her and remind others do the same.

Ask the CR to Wear an ID Necklace or Bracelet

Include details of the nature of the disease (for example "memory impaired") and your telephone number. This is one of the most important things you can do since the CR may be prone to wandering and getting lost.

Keep the CR Active, But Not Overwhelmed

Although the relationship of activity to the course of the some diseases may be unclear, activity may help the CR. It may help to maintain physical well-being and prevent other illnesses and infections from developing. Being active may help the CR to continue to feel that life has meaning and he or she is stille involved in the family. However, too much stimulation and activity may upset the CR and may not be beneficial.

Keywords Caregiver help, caregiver tips, caregiver resources, senior services, respite