It may have come totally out of the blue: an unexpected fall that caused a broken hip and the need for Mom to have assistance to remain at home. Or, it may have been building up over time, such as through the incremental and slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Whatever the circumstances, you’ve now found yourself serving as a family caregiver, and perhaps are wondering specifically what this means and how to navigate these new waters – and feeling desperately in need of some tips for new caregivers to help you gain confidence in your role.
To start with, take a deep breath, and a moment to recognize the selflessness of your decision. Caregiving is a commendable and incredibly rewarding endeavor, yet not without its struggles. A bit of proactive planning will go a long way towards an easier transition to care, both for yourself and your senior family member. A good starting point is to consider the way in which you would both like each day to unfold, making a simple timeline to list out the daily tasks and activities that will need your attention. For instance:
- 7 a.m.: Help Mom get out of bed, showered, dressed, and ready for the day
- 8 a.m.: Make breakfast and tidy up
- 9 a.m.: Take Mom to physical therapy and/or exercise class
- 11 a.m.: Run errands with (or for) Mom
- 1 p.m.: Prepare lunch and clean up
- 2 p.m.: Help Mom get settled in for afternoon activities: a film, reading, puzzles, nap, engaging in a favorite pastime or hobby, etc.
- 6 p.m.: Make dinner and clean up
- 8 p.m.: Help Mom with bedtime tasks – a bath, changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, etc.
- 10 p.m.: Help Mom get into bed
Your list will look different for each day, of course, but this provides a helpful guideline to let you know when you could have a little downtime to yourself, and when you will need to provide help.
This may also be an appropriate time to establish boundaries together – and to agree to stick to them. Again, these will vary for each person and on different days, but determine what is essential to each of you: having a designated time each day for self-care and private time, when friends and family can come to visit, whether or not you need to maintain a job outside the home, etc.
Recognize that JFS Care, the leading provider of senior care in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, is always available to assist as you get accustomed to your role as a new caregiver. We’ll provide the backup care needed to make certain you are able to care for yourself – something that is important to both you and the senior in your care. Give us a call at 213-383-2273 or contact us online to get more information on our services and for more helpful tips for new caregivers!