Caregiver Instructions

When you care for a sick loved one, or someone who has recently undergone a medical procedure, it can be hard to balance your caregiving duties with your own life and responsibilities.  This task list will help make it easier to manage their care:

  • File all relevant paperwork under key topics like medical care, benefits, resources, assisted living, nursing homes, etc.
  • Keep the patient’s medical history and medication list handy, along with notes about any instructions given, and who gave them.
  • Have a visiting nurse spend some time at your home to teach you how to properly feed, bathe, and dress your loved one.
  • Bring a list of questions to ask the healthcare provider. Don’t leave until you receive answers you feel confident you can share with others.

Care for yourself too.

Being a caregiver can be stressful. It’s important to take care of yourself along the way, so you can keep helping the patient. Joining a support groups lets you process feelings, discuss problems and combat loneliness. Check with local hospitals and health organizations or search online to find caregiver support groups.

If you’re caring for an older adult, call (800) 677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov to find local services for you or your loved one, or visit a caregiving website like caregiveraction.org and www.caregiver.org.

Friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers may offer to help. Be willing to accept their help, but also be prepared to assign specific responsibilities.

It’s also important to arrange for some time off—take breaks, take walks, whatever you need to keep your own spirits up. A social worker can arrange for a home health aide or respite care, which can free you to take care of personal needs without compromising care.