Carol Applegate, lawyer and registered nurse discuss the five things every caregiver should know as part of the The Voice of Aging: Family Caregivers' Conference.
Five things every caregiver should know/Tips for caregivers:
1. Find neutral ground – Engage professionals (geriatric care managers, elder law attorneys, financial advisors, etc.) who can help you navigate the murky waters of elder care. This will greatly reduce the inner-family turmoil that sometimes occurs in caregiving.
2. Educate yourself but don't expect to know or even understand everything – A number of local and online organizations provide caregiver support and education. This education can help you talk with the professional caregivers and other service providers you may encounter on this journey.
3. Don't go for the Oscar-winning performance – You don't need to act like everything is perfectly fine and nothing has changed; Baking 200 cupcakes for a bake sale or planning dinner for 22 on your best china doesn't really need to be on your radar if its stressful to you.
4. Give yourself permission to let go. On this journey, many caregivers are so conflicted as they are faced with making difficult decisions for their parents or loved ones. As a nurse, and an elderlaw attorney, I tell my clients that it's okay to choose quality of life over length of life.
5 Ask for HELP. Maybe something you've never done before … but if you are a caregiver, NOW the time. Allow neighbors to walk dogs, pick up mail, fix a dinner. EMBRACE respite care when you need a break.
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