Thursday, April 25, 2013

Caregiving 101

It happens every day. Someone has a stroke and before anyone realizes what has happened, the family must provide care for their stricken loved one. It can be very overwhelming. If you take a deep breath and follow a few simple rules you will get through this most difficult time.  

Rule 1: Start with a proper diagnosis. Talk to the doctor find out all you need to know. If need be, find a book or video on the condition. Make notes and ask questions.

Rule 2: Talk to your loved one about his or her finances and health care wishes. You may need to get a durable power of attorney for finances and health care. You can do this through an elderlaw specialist. If your loved one cannot communicate his or her decisions, you may need other legal advice.

Rule 3: Try to include your loved one in all sessions if you can. They need to feel that they have some control over their life. That is very important to their mental health. Try not to make decisions alone, involve other family members.

Rule 4: Take advantage of community programs. Programs such as Meals on Wheels and adult daycare programs are available. Talk to your religious leader. They are a good source of information and help.

Rule 5: Don't forget about finding support for yourself. Caregiving can be an overwhelming job. Keeping yourself healthy both mentally and physically is important.

Following these five simple rules will help a family manage the caregiving of a loved one.

Take care,

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