Perhaps you call regularly to offer emotional support. Maybe you handle finances. Perhaps you visit weekly. Or you may live with your loved one 24/7. Caring takes many forms. You may feel this is simply what a loving daughter/son/partner would do. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t time and energy from your day. Or night, if you skimp on sleep to create time to help.
Whether you provide hands-on care or assistance from afar, you ARE a family caregiver. And that means you need to watch for burnout. Use this list to take an inventory. Consider what is realistic for you. And think about options to help manage the load: Friends, family, community programs, paid help.
- Chores. Laundry, yardwork, housekeeping, repairs
- Meals. Shopping, cooking, cleanup
- Transportation. Errands, doctor appointments, worship, social activities
- Medical advocacy. Talking with doctors, deciding on treatments
- Help in a crisis. Availability on short notice. The legal right to make medical decisions if your loved one is unable to speak
- Medication management. Tracking what’s been prescribed. Getting refills on time. Daily reminders to take meds
- Coordinating care. Finding, hiring, supervising, and scheduling providers
- Money management. Paying bills, balancing the checkbook, banking. Handling investments and real estate
- Dealing with insurance. Tracking deductibles and copays. Signing up for prescription insurance, long-term care coverage, disability and veteran benefits
- Legal assistance. Ensuring paperwork is attended to: A will or living trust. Durable Power of Attorney. Advance health care directive
- Financial assistance. Finding programs and/or pitching in to cover expenses
- Intimate care. Bathing, dressing, toileting, feeding
- Emotional support. A sympathetic ear. A hug. Reassuring your relative that they are not alone
Plus the work of being constantly on the lookout for evidence of new difficulties, falls, confusion, blue mood, scammers, etc.