During this 5 part series of home caregiving, I have tried to share with you some of the tips I have learned, and share some personal experiences with you. It was my purpose not only to help those who are new to providing home care for family members, but also to let you know that you are not in this alone. There are many people facing the same things every day.
To recap on the issues covered:
Listening, not only hearing what is being said, but actually listening to the problems, concerns questions your loved one is trying to communicate to you. Listening is a lost art, and to properly listen you have to remove all distractions and noise, and focus all your attention to what your family member is saying to you.
Next we talked about keeping your sanity and listed some activities for you to do to help with that such as:
- Hire someone to come in a few days a week to perform routine care;
- Enlist family members to sit with them;
- Take some time off, go to a movie or out to eat;
- Get a massage or manicure, get your hair done;
- Go to church or join a club;
- Walk around your neighborhood;
- Find a hobby; and
- Join a support group.
Our next subject involved taking notes about what different or unusual things that were happening with your family member. Keeping a record of what changes that were going on is not only beneficial for you but also important information to share with the doctor, insurance company or other family members. Keeping good records is also important in tracking any health trends that continue to occur such as infections or eating changes or mood changes.
We then covered the actual physical care, the importance of monitoring for any changes in skin and nutrition as well as maintaining dignity and respect and privacy for your family member.
Finally we discussed safety issues in the home, the importance of making your loved one feel safe and secure and keeping them safe from accidents and injuries. There are many websites that can give you information or support while you are going through this part of your life. I am always available to answer any questions, provide information, or just listen to your problems. The main goal is to provide a safe and secure environment and to help in maintaining the best possible health for your family member. It is a very tough job, but also a very rewarding one. Nothing can take the place of providing peace, comfort and care to your family. It may not always be easy, but the gratitude you receive more than makes up for the hard times.
Note from Terry. Thank you Diane for sharing your story with all of us.