Starting your caregiving journey
If you’re new to caregiving, there are a number of resources available to help you on your path. Start by checking within your community for local support groups or services. Contact your area health department or parent’s primary care doctor for recommendations. You can also find help by visiting community health and wellness fairs.
Next, set up a support team – for both you and your parent. Start with a family meeting to discuss care options, and include your parent if possible. Have a realistic and frank discussion about what kind of care is needed, and ask everyone to help as they can. This may include volunteering to buy groceries, providing transportation to doctor’s appointments, or scheduling a regular visit to fix meals or just talk. Also, give everyone an opportunity to voice any concerns or suggestions they have to make the transition easier. If appropriate, include your parent’s close friends in your plans. Offering them the opportunity to continue to be part of your parent’s life is often welcome.
Keep in mind that not everyone feels comfortable providing direct care but may be willing to contribute in other ways, such as running errands or helping out financially. The goal is to share the responsibility for all aspects of your parent’s care with others so you don’t become overwhelmed. A caregiver calendar or spreadsheet can help you keep track of who’s helping when – and let you plan some downtime for yourself.