How to Become a More Confident and Capable Caregiver

in Alzheimer's & Dementia, Tips & Advice

If you’re feeling unsure about your skills as a caregiver, try some of our confidence-building tips.

Often loved ones are thrust into the throes of caregiving after a crisis of some sort. Being a caregiver comes with a load of responsibility and seems to be an ever-evolving role. With the constant advancements in medicine and technology and then the constant aging of the patient, there is always something new budding on the horizon. It can be hard to feel on top of your game 100 percent of the time. That’s why we’ve curated some ways to help you gain confidence and perspective as a caregiver.

Book an Appointment For Your Parent With a Geriatrician

While a family physician or general internist can serve as a primary care provider most of one’s life, if your parent has become particularly frail or developed complex health problems, switching to a geriatrician may be a good idea. Geriatric medicine specializes in health care for older adults and many primary doctors don’t have advanced training in this area. Ask for the medical records to be transferred to the new doctor to help get them up to speed quickly.

Extended Learning

It’s one thing to know a little bit about the aging process and what might transpire, but it’s another thing when the loved one you’re caring for begins experiencing memory loss or showing signs of disease. Many hospitals, hospices and universities offer caregiving classes on topics like dementia, diabetes or palliative care. Taking a course may be useful, along with enrolling in a basic first aid class to help you feel prepared the next time your parent has a minor injury or fall.

Act From the Heart

Sometimes we get so caught up in the motions of daily care-giving — the medications, the hygiene, the steady diet — we forget there is an emotional person tucked inside our loved one’s aging body. Acting from a place of love makes the mundane tasks feel more from the heart rather than just a matter of “pushing through.” Look for non-verbal cues on how your loved one may be feeling. Their body language can help you tap into what they are thinking but not verbally communicating.

Know What To Look For

If your loved one has conditions like high blood pressure or heart problems, it’s essential to know the signs of a stroke and heart attack. If it’s an issue of diabetes, you’ll want to know what the symptoms are of low blood sugar, like changes in mood, hunger and temperament.

Take Care of Yourself

In the midst of helping others, it’s all too easy to forget about ourselves; however, taking time each day to practice self-care is crucial. Sometimes just practicing small bits throughout the day can drastically shift a mood. Stopping for a cup of tea, practicing a five-minute meditation, writing in a gratitude journal, taking care of a nagging personal errand — all can help foster a greater sense of calm and well-being that will result in overall better feelings

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