It might have come altogether out of nowhere: an unanticipated fall that caused a fractured hip and the need for Mom to have assistance to stay at home. Or, it may have been building up over the years, such as through the incremental and slow progression of dementia. Regardless of the circumstances, you’ve now found yourself in the role of family caregiver, and perhaps are wondering just what that means and how to navigate these new waters.
First and foremost, take a deep breath, and a moment to appreciate the selflessness of your choice. Caregiving is an incredibly rewarding endeavor, though not without its struggles. A little proactive planning and some tips for first-time caregivers should go a long way towards a smoother transition to care, both for yourself and your family member. A great starting point is to figure out the way you would both like each day to look, making a simple timeline to list out the daily activities and tasks that will need your attention. For instance:
- 7 a.m.: Help Mom get out of bed, showered, dressed, and ready for the day
- 8 a.m.: Make breakfast and tidy up
- 9 a.m.: Take Mom to exercise class and/or physical therapy
- 11 a.m.: Run errands with (or for) Mom
- 1 p.m.: Prepare lunch and clean up
- 2 p.m.: Help Mom get settled set for afternoon activities: a movie, nap, reading, puzzles, participating in a favorite pastime or hobby, etc.
- 6 p.m.: Make dinner and clean up
- 8 p.m.: Help Mom with bedtime tasks – a bath, changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, etc.
- 10 p.m.: Help Mom get into bed
Your list will be different for each day, of course, but this offers a helpful outline to let you know when you could have just a little downtime to yourself, and when you will need to provide hands-on help.
This may also be an appropriate time to establish boundaries together – and to agree to adhere to them. Again, these will vary for each person as well as on different days, but determine what is important to each of you: having a designated time every day for self-care and personal time, when friends and family will come to visit, whether or not you intend to maintain a job outside of the home, etc.
Know that Midnight Sun Home Care is always here to assist while you get accustomed to your caregiving role with the respite care needed to make sure you are able to look after yourself, too – something that is important to both you and a senior loved one in your care. Contact us at (907) 677-7890 for additional information about Mat-Su home care and all of the areas we serve throughout Alaska.