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If you’re thinking about becoming the family caregiver, you probably have questions and maybe even a few doubts. Getting support from your siblings and family is key, but so is finding out about all the resources you might have available to you.
Here are five questions to ask various people in your life to get the most caregiver support you can.
Ask Your Family: How Will You Support Me?
Before you jump in to the job of caregiving, make sure you let your family know you expect their help and support. You can do this by simply asking them for ideas on how they can help you.
If your family responds with, “Well, we’re far away and you live by mom” or “We’re not millionaires either, you’re going to have to figure it out” then you’ve got some educating to do. Every family member can help, regardless of where they live or how much money they have.
For instance, let your family know what they can say or avoid saying to help support you emotionally. Or give them suggestions on they can help you when they come to town for a visit. There are plenty of things you can do to enlist the help of your siblings, so if they shy away from volunteering, offer some suggestions.
Ask Yourself: What Do I Need to Be Successful at This?
Adding the task of caregiving to your life means something else will have to give. Will you ask your kids to help? Get some outside assistance?
Figure out how you can successfully manage the stress and responsibilities that come with being a caregiver. Do you need to schedule things like massages? Alone time? Think about it ahead of time and make a point to get the resources you need.
It’s important to note that even if you’re the sole caregiver, you can and should ask for help. You don’t need to go it alone or feel as if you’re not entitled to vacations or time away. Being a caregiver is a lot like being a parent. You still need to care for yourself so you can take care of someone else.
Ask Your Healthcare Provider: What Resources Are Available?
You’d be surprised at the amount of help available in various forms (from meals on wheels to visiting nurses), even if you’re budget is limited. Start with your parent’s regular doctor, and ask about assistance.
There are also resources available online, like these.
- Medicare Caregiver Resources
- VA Caregiver Support
- Family Caregiving Support
- Government Caregiving Support
Ask Your Spouse and Children: How Will You Help Me Adjust and Assist Me?
Caregiving affects the whole family, not just the caregiver alone. Talk with your family about expectations both of you may have when it comes to the amount of time, money, and attention that you’ll be spending as a caregiver.
You’ll have a much better chance of balancing your family time with caregiver responsibilities if you have an honest discussion ahead of time. This is the time for your family to step up with chores and meals, help with activities and doctor’s appointments, and give you the emotional support you need.
Ask Your Parents: How Can I Help You the Most?
Most importantly, ask the person you’ll be caring for what they need from you in order to live their life to the fullest. Your caregiver responsibilities will change as time goes on, and your parents may have a lot of questions about your current relationship with them and how it may change.
Caring for someone while still honoring their independence is a challenge, and can only be achieved with patience and communication. Talking with every member of your family and examining your own fears and expectations will help you as you move forward into this new challenge of your life.