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Caregiver Tips

We recognize that being a caregiver can be both physically and emotionally draining. Caregivers often focus all their attention on their loved one and neglect their own concerns. This page provides tips, information and a range of suggestions provided by fellow caregivers to help you better cope with the many challenges of caregiving. Please share your tip or suggestion. We would love to hear from you!

“ Just a few things that helped me and were great time savers. Keep an updated printout of patients meds and directions. Doctor can provide one also. Take it to all doc appts and ER visits. If you make a lot of ER visits, keep a little bag packed with toiletries, slippers, pjs or whatever they might need. Also keep one for yourself with a book, change for parking or coffee, a couple of aspirin or your own meds, a few snacks that have a long shelf life, bottle of water etc. For ER visits ALWAYS take a jacket because hospitals are almost always cold, even in the summer. ”


“ I purchased a medical alert bracelet for my mother which includes her Alzheimer's disease and a drug allergy, the name of her medical clinic, and the first name and phone numbers for my sister and I and my son. If something happens it will be spotted and one of us is always available by phone. She has two metal ID's, one with a ID style chain bracelet and another that has a silicone band attached to the ID. She prefers the chain style. ”


“Apply Child-proof devices over the door knob for people that wander, or try to leave the house in a panic. Also, for anyone with dementia of any kind, register with Alzheimer's association for their Safe Return bracelet that helps to get the patient home when they have wandered off. This will relieve a source of anxiety for the caregivers. ”
Alice A


“It's been helpful for me to keep a journal. I know this may not be practical for some, but I do it on the computer. This exercise of physically typing the symptoms/emotions/frustrations, etc. has released some of the tension, and helps when I look back. Besides the not-so-pleasant things, I try to also include a humorous note, or inspirational, or even a prayer.”


“Take the knobs off the stove so that your loved one does not start to cook and then walk away and forget about it. ”
Lynn F.


“Modify the bathroom and most used entrance to the home as soon as possible after diagnosis. This will allow your loved one to stay at home longer.”
Pat S.


“Maybe stop by the local police department with an Alzheimer person so that not only will that person know of them but the police department will then be familiar with them. Putting the business card in their pocket was a great idea. Grandmother has in her purse an identification printout in it listing her meds, allergies and collective phone numbers.”
Lori P


“Realize that balancing acceptance,along with desperation (over wanting to make your loved one's situation better), and guilt (over not somehow being able to do more) is very difficult. Searching for that balance is one of the many jobs of the loving care giver.”


“If we truly want to provide our loved ones the best of ourselves as their caregiver as well as their family/friend DON'T DO IT ALONE There are so many support groups, resources to help with all needs from delivered hot meals, transportation, financial aid, house-cleaning to relief care. MOST IMPORTANTLY Never take their moods personal- BREAK THRU their walls, you may need to turn it around, express how much it would mean to you, for them to share their childhood memories& dreams, or what life was like, how they grew up? What are there favorite memories of you two as a baby, child, teen and recent(share yours-FOCUS ONLY on the POSITIVE) READ-research any information you can find related to caregivers, and support groups, especially the medical condition and treatments your loved one is experiencing, including books on coping with the illness and death of a loved one. All of these will help you understand, yes, it will be emotional, but the knowledge offers comfort, compassion, strength. Imagine it was you in their place, the loss of independence, dignity, body functions, loss of memory, ETC. AND then Care for them, love them, support them, speak to them & treat them how you would want/need/feel.”
Tisha J.


“Find and use appropriate technologies. Get your parents on the same video conferencing system you use. That way you can use the same product to talk to your own kids and grandkids that you use to talk to your parents. That's especially important since these products don't all talk to each other.”
Wayne C.


“Don't forget the Do not Resuscitate form filled by your the PCP. Very important. ”


“I've been working as an OT with seniors with dementia for 10 years and please allow them to be as independent and active mentally and physically as possible. It can slow the process down along with the meds.”


“I stuck a business card with my contact information on it in my mother's cell phone case so if her Alzheimer's causes her to get lost (or if she loses her cellphone), the card can be found and I can be reached.Hope this helps someone else.”


“There's no crystal ball... do your best, with loving intentions. Reach out; talk with those who've "been there," learn about programs and options, plan ahead, but be flexible as needs change. Try to keep in mind the short/long term bigger picture, health, safety and quality of life- for yourself as well as your loved one. It's a marathon, not a sprint, pace yourself, have a support system of family, friends, medical and professionals. Share the load, take breaks without guilt, use humor, don't overlook the small gifts along the way.”


“ I find that attending aerobic class a few days a week really helps me relax. I also enjoy joking with other members in the class. We have fun and I sometimes really need the break.”


“ Having a good relationship with my mother’s doctor has been very helpful. Communication is key to ensuring mom gets what she needs.”


“ Joining a support group has really been a life saver. I have learned so much from attending meetings and it is nice to know I am not alone. I have formed some lasting friendships with people who understand my need to cry.”


“Neighbors can be life savers! Tell trusted neighbors when your loved one is alone so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.”


“Don’t feel guilty if you need a break. Finding time for you is so so important.”


“Watch out for signs of depression, and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.”
National Family Caregivers Association


“Find out what services are available in your community through government, public, and private organizations.”


“Try establishing a routine and keeping to a set schedule for as much as possible.”


Last Modified: 6/11/2014 8:32:12 AM