Thinking of Becoming a Caregiver?
Regardless of whether you will be an informal caregiver for a relative or make a career out of caregiving, all caregivers share similar experiences.
A caregiver is anyone who assists in the treatment of another person so that individual can maintain an independent lifestyle. Anyone contemplating becoming a caregiver should possess patience, flexibility, dependability, reliability and a love for working with other people. The bond between caregiver and care receiver is extremely important as the two of you will become a team and your effectiveness depends on the bond you develop. This collaboration is not always easy to develop. Open communication and mutual respect go a long way in strengthening this relationship.
Prior to taking on the caregiver role there are numerous aspects that need to be addressed:
- Consult the caregiver’s family or doctors and nurses and ask them what medical help the patient will need, who can assist in helping with medical care and what specific needs the care receiver will expect from you.
- Social workers can aid in helping you get acquainted with Medicare and Medicaid to discover what services are available, social workers are also a great resource.
- Set up a plan of care. A plan of care is a daily record of the care and treatment the care receiver needs including diet, medication, physical limitations and diagnosis. This information is helpful until the daily care you are administering becomes routine, and you don’t have to rely on your memory alone. It is also important to have all of this information laid out in case someone else has to step in and provide temporary or permanent care.
- There are numerous classes and courses for caregivers to enroll in online. You can search the Internet and decide if one of them is right for you.
- Make a plan with the care receiver to determine what he or she needs/expects from you. Can you meet those expectations? Discover what the care receiver is able to do by him/herself.
- Develop a network with the care receivers friends and family to discover what help is available beyond your care.
Deciding to become a caregiver is not something that should be taken lightly. Being a caregiver means you will be one of the most important people in the care receivers life. Caregiving is a time-consuming and often difficult job, however, it is also very rewarding. As with anything in life, the greatest rewards often come from the greatest challenges.