5 Helpful Tips for New Family Caregivers

Mother and adult daughter sitting on couch smiling

Caregiving is a rewarding, but sometimes demanding role. From getting organized to practicing good self-care, here are some helpful tips for new caregivers.

If you’ve recently taken on the role of family caregiver, you may be finding it challenging. Juggling your own responsibilities while also caring for an aging loved one is tough. It can lead to caregiver overload or a serious case of caregiver burnout.

To help you get organized, we’ve assembled a few caregiver survival tips.

5 Survival Tips for New Caregivers

  1. Establish and stick to a routine.

Having a routine helps your life run more smoothly, especially if you’re caring for a senior loved one with dementia. Structure is important for people with memory loss.

Clustering errands and appointments on one or two mornings each week might be easier than running around town every day. This also helps if you need to arrange for an in-home caregiver or friend to stay with your loved one.

  1. Get organized and write everything down.

Creating a system to keep yourself on track is more important than ever when you take on caregiver responsibilities. You feel less stressed and more in control when you aren’t worrying if you’ve forgotten something.

First, organize all your senior loved one’s health care paperwork and legal documents. Add all their appointments to your personal calendar. That helps avoid double-booking yourself.

Whether you use a traditional planner or a phone app, document everything related to your family member’s care. Don’t rely on your memory. Record your daily routine, doctor’s appointments, family events, and important work-related activities.

  1. Ask for help with caregiving responsibilities or other tasks.

Help can come in many forms when you are a caregiver. Friends and family members can assist with your senior loved one or help in other areas, such as picking up your groceries or dropping off the dry cleaning.

If you don’t have anyone to fill that role, consider hiring help for chores you typically handle on your own. It might be mowing the lawn, housekeeping, or grocery shopping.

Don’t overlook senior care options that offer short-term support, such as an adult day program or respite care at an assisted living community.

  1. Find a support system.

Caregivers face unique challenges. From sharing time management tips to locating a specialist or in-home care provider, having a support network of peers is helpful.

Support groups also help caregivers cope with the difficult emotions of the role: fear, guilt, anger, and sadness to name a few.

  1. Care for yourself, too.

You can’t care for others if you’re exhausted and overwhelmed. In fact, caregivers who don’t practice healthy self-care often experience a medical crisis of their own. Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself.

Eat regular, healthy meals and exercise. If you had an exercise routine before, stick to it. If not, take short breaks to walk or engage in other physical activities. Two fifteen-minute exercise sessions a day can help relieve stress and ward off illness.

Senior Care at The Wesley Community

If you are a caregiver in the Saratoga Springs area, we invite you to get to know The Wesley Community. We offer a full continuum of care ranging from home care and respite services to short-term rehab and assisted living. Call us today at (518) 587-3600 to schedule a private tour!