Over 53 million Americans are serving as family caregivers in the United States today. Being a family caregiver is often referred to as informal caregiving and can include taking care of a friend. Every family caregiver’s reasons for offering care are different, but it is a commitment that many people undertake out of necessity. This post discusses what family caregivers should know about caring for a loved one and practicing self-care, too.

Cover Your Bases

Family caregivers are part care provider and part advocate for their loved ones. Stepping into this role is sometimes planned. But for many people, becoming a caregiver is unexpected and can come as a result of a major health setback such as a stroke or an accident. In addition to providing personal care to their loved ones, family caregivers should:

  • Gather family and friends together to discuss care and keep them up to date on the latest developments
  • Advocate for your loved one as needed
  • Discuss financial and health care wishes with their loved one
  • Make sure necessary paperwork such as Powers of Attorney, Advance Directives, and POLST forms are complete and in place.
  • Get a good diagnosis from a specialist or geriatrician
  • Find out if you should obtain specific training to provide better care to someone with a condition like Parkinson’s disease or dementia

Take Care of Yourself

Being a family caregiver is tremendously rewarding. But it is also challenging, and family caregivers often forget about taking care of themselves and their health. Things you can do for yourself include:

  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Setting limits for what you can and can’t do.
  • Taking scheduled breaks regularly and getting enough sleep
  • Exercising at least three times per week and drinking plenty of water

Understand When to Seek Help

Everyone has their limits for what they can and cannot do. Each family caregiver reaches a point where they need some kind of support, whether that be going to resources in your community or hiring professional caregivers, even if it’s just for a few hours during the week.

For family caregivers who are looking for professional caregivers in Orange County or Newport Beach, CA to provide support for their loved ones, reach out to Optimal Senior Care Solutions. Our dedicated care staff will be happy to help find a care solution that meets your needs.