This post, Caregiver Resources and Support is made possible through a paid partnership with AARP’s Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own.
Wow! Where do I begin? Somedays, I feel like I’ve become an expert in caregiver resources and support over the last 10 years. My caregiving journey started 10 years ago when my brother was diagnosed with cancer. Since then, I’ve been a part of the care teams for my grandma, nephew, brother-in-law, and mother.
Right now I am typing this post right beside my mom as she loses her battle to cancer. Caregiving isn’t easy, but with support and resources, you can make the best of it all!
So, you have found yourself in a caregiving role, the first thing you need to do is, breath and relax. Everything will work out the way it is meant to be.
Organize Your Caregiver Resources
Now to the real stuff! Let’s talk about where to find caregiver resources and support.
There are two invaluable tools you will want to use along the way. First is a notebook! I use several spiral one subject notebooks. An online journal or notebook would be great too!
You can organize them in the way that best fits your needs. I have one for the doctor and medical information. One for financial obligations and one for recording things I don’t want to fit along the way. Anectdotes from your loved ones, visits, gifts, etc. can all be tracked for future use.
Don’t forget to record your loved ones last wishes or bucket list. Plus, it’s always good to check with a lawyer or social worker to make sure you have all of the legalities covered. Especially since they vary from state to state.
Online Caregiver Resources
So many aspects of your life will be altered due to a caregiving role, so you need to be ready. Thankfully, the internet is a myriad of information for caregivers of all ages.
You will want to start with the AARP Family Caregiver Action Kit. On the website, you will find the information you need for everything from finances, work-life balance, and answers to questions. Topics you may not even consider are provided for your online use and it’s available at your fingertips your 24/7. It’s definitely a great caregiver resource!
Support for Caregivers
One thing I learned rather quickly was when people offer to help, accept their assistance. Things as simple as soft tissues, or a meal you didn’t have to plan and cook will help you in so many ways. Plus, people truly want to help and allowing them to do a kind gesture is a blessing to all.
I suggest you find a friend or family member who can be your sounding board through the caregiver journey. When decisions need to be made or you have to advocate for services, a neutral party may just be the level-headed guidance you need in the heat of the moment.
Caregivers Need Self-Care
Self-care needs to be a priority. If you don’t take care of you, you may not be able to give your all to the team. Taking some time for you doesn’t have to be elaborate or costly. I’ve been able to hit the gym at all hours of the night or day. Sometimes, I just get away for a few minutes to browse my favorite store and unwind.
For the times I can’t leave the house, a quick shower, journaling, hot tea, and a few yoga poses can do the trick. Please take care of you! Your mental and physical health needs to be a priority.
Savor the Moments
Your caregiving journey is bound to be an emotional rollercoaster. Assisting others isn’t always easy but the rewards are plentiful. Take each day as it comes and enjoy every single minute you get to share with a family member or friend.
There is no real handbook on the right or wrong way to be part of a caregiving team. You are enough! However you choose to participate in this role, is your personal decision. Visit The AARP Family Caregiver site and find the Family Caregiver Action Kit to help you get started.