Being suddenly thrust into a caregiving role is often a very overwhelming experience.
This can happen especially if you're dealing with an unplanned surgery or hospital stay. I know this from my own personal experience of caring for my Grandparents and my Mom.
Over the years there’s been lots of lessons. I’m sharing with you what I’ve learned in order to hopefully make your caregiving experience a bit easier.
Designate a Point Person
Instead of trying to update everyone in your extended family and friend circle, delegate the task to a trusted family member. Create a list of people that need to be informed and pass it off to your designated point person. This way, you can focus your energy on your loved one.
Ask Clarifying Questions
When dealing with medical professionals, it's important to remember that they handle tests, diagnoses, and recoveries on a daily basis. Although they have the best intentions, they may forget that this could all be new and overwhelming for you or your loved one. If you or a loved one don't understand something – especially medical jargon – don't hesitate to ask questions.
Rotate Visitors at the Hospital
If your loved one is staying at the hospital for more than a day or two, it's best to take turns with other family members or friends, if possible. This will prevent the patient from becoming too exhausted with a room full of visitors all day long. Additionally, it will give you some time to prepare your home for their return or simply take a few minutes to relax and unwind. You’re allowed to take time for yourself, even if it’s just a shower.
Take Home Health Care Services
If home health care is available, take advantage of it. As a non-medical professional, your perception of a the situation may differ from that of a trained healthcare provider, especially wound care.
It will save you some stress of “OMG, is that healing right? Is it infected? etc.
As mentioned above, updating family and friends can be a lot. CaringBridge offers a free website, where you can post updates, organize visits and have others comment. I’ve used it multiple times as a visitor and as a caregiver, it is lifesaver. Also when your loved one is feeling better, if they chose they can easily update their own page as well. It’s super easy to use.
Go to CaringBridge Website
I will admit, this isn’t something that I personally took advantage of, but there are numerous support groups for either family caregivers or the person healing. I know my mom has gotten a lot of benefit from joining an open heart surgery recovery group on facebook.
Caregiver Action Network
Is a great resource for any caregiver at any stage of caregiving. I wish I had found them earlier.
Go to Caregiver Action Network website
Courageously Living’s Caregiving Support Cards and Journal Gift Set
Caregiving is hard. It can often feel like you’re doing everything wrong. This gift card set was created to help you ease and acknowledge your stress and frustration while doing caregiving.
Shop Caregiver gifts for others or yourself.