How to Be the Best Caregiver You Can Be
When someone you love gets sick, it’s difficult not only for them but for you. Stepping into a caregiver role is not an easy transition to make, but it’s an important role that any patient will need.
When sickness hits home, you simply fall into the caregiving role. While many people choose to become a caregiver as a professional path, many others are thrown into it without much of a choice.
This presents a large learning curve — not only are you trying to do your best to care for your loved one, but you’re also trying to maintain proper care of yourself through it all.
With half of adult Americans having at least one chronic condition that may require caregiver help, it’s not uncommon for many others to find the role of caregiver placed in their lap.
If this is something you’re faced with, here are some tips to become the best caregiver you can be, both for your loved one and for you.
1. Build Confidence All Around
When someone is afflicted with a serious illness, one of the first things that hits is the reality and severity of it all. This can be hard on the spirit and can affect the patient’s motivation to get through whatever issue they’re facing.
A great first step to being a good caregiver is slowly building confidence in your loved one. Assure them that they will get through their treatment.
You can do this by encouraging tiny steps — things like taking sips of water, taking a few steps, or going on a short walk to move around.
You can also provide consistent encouragement and reward when they reach these small goals. Remind them of these successes when the hard times hit, so they can remember their own capabilities.
2. Ensure They Are Protected
People in need of care are often vulnerable in more ways than one. Because they are dealing with a debilitating illness, disease, or other condition, they may not be in a place to protect their rights and their assets.
You can help make sure the person you’re caring for has the protection they need by checking that all their affairs are in order. If needed, ensure that all actionable steps have been taken to secure not only treatment but justice.
This is especially important for conditions linked to drugs like the HIV antiviral Truvada. If your loved one has been affected by TDF, you will want to make sure they’re in contact with Truvada lawyers. By obtaining legal protections for the person you’re caring for, you’re helping to make sure they’re taken care of in all aspects of their life.
3. Show Compassion
Whether you’re caring for a cancer patient going through chemo, or an HIV patient battling TDF side effects, the same kind of compassion is needed.
Sometimes it may feel like there’s not much you can do, but those moments are often the most important. Sitting, talking, and listening are significant for someone being cared for. Simply keeping a consistent presence can be the biggest message of compassion they receive.
4. Be Intentional with Your Words and Gestures
During hard times, those suffering often hear empty words from those who would like to help. Phrases like “let me know what I can do” or “call me if you need me” put the person affected in a position where they are required to initiate getting help. No one wants to call someone and ask for help during a hard time.
Those who really care will do things rather than just say them, so make this a priority as a caregiver. Instead of waiting for them to call, call them first. Bring them gifts just because. Send letters to open more opportunities for communication.
Small gestures of support are critical to helping patients coping with a serious illness.
5. Care for Yourself
One of the most important parts about becoming someone’s caregiver is also becoming a caregiver for yourself. Caregivers are naturally at a higher risk of depression and anxiety since they are devoting so much of themselves to someone who is vulnerable and needs support. It’s crucial for caregivers to take time to preserve themselves as well.
As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty well. Make sure you set boundaries to protect yourself and take time to do the things you need to feel whole during this difficult time. Be sure you check out 5 Ways to Care for Yourself as a Busy Mom before you go!