Maybe it was expected, or maybe you were caught off guard. Mom has just received an official diagnosis for a progressive disease that’s likely to make independent living difficult to maintain. While there are a number of questions, one thing is for sure: she’s adamant about remaining at home – meaning you will have some decisions to make about how to provide for the care she will need.
Welcome to the world of family caregiving! If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with what can be expected next as a family caregiver helping a loved one with a new diagnosis, these tips can help:
- Prioritize organization. Create a folder in which to store important paperwork: prescription details, test results, contact information for doctors’ offices and also the pharmacy, and any other essential medical information. Start a journal to help note any changes in condition or concerns that arise as well as the details surrounding those changes.
- Learn as much as you can in regards to the disease. The older adult’s doctor can provide you with educational materials and resources to help you know what to anticipate and to increase confidence in your family caregiving role.
- Determine boundaries together. Talk with the senior about how much and what sort of help could be beneficial. It is natural to want to step in and take control. Nevertheless, it’s essential for the older adult to maintain as much control and independence as possible.
- Put aside past hurts. A new diagnosis could cause old family dynamics to resurface. If unresolved issues are interfering with your ability to provide the best care, turn to the support of a professional therapist to effectively work through them.
- Take care of yourself, too. Your own personal health and wellness are equally important. And, the level of care you provide can be affected if your own needs are not being met. Designate and prioritize time daily for self-care by seeking out and accepting help from others.
It is important to pay attention to the signs of caregiver burnout and depression and to take steps as quickly as possible in the event that you begin to experience warning signs including:
- Increased agitation, anxiety, and irritability
- Less interest in once-enjoyed pastimes
- Withdrawing from social interactions
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty with focus and concentration
- Problems with falling or staying asleep
Finding a trustworthy care partner provides you with time to see a doctor for a checkup to eliminate other possible health problems, to speak with a therapist to work through the many emotions involved in caregiving, and to relax and recharge.
The caregiving team at Atlanta Home Care Partners, providers of in home elder care services in Decatur and nearby areas, is always available to provide further resources for family caregivers, in addition to expert, trusted respite care services. Partnering with Atlanta Home Care Partners enables a healthier life balance and helps family caregivers navigate caring for a loved one with a new diagnosis. Contact us online or at (404) 228-0103 for a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more.