Friday, June 5, 2009


Posted by Leona Bergstrom

The next stage of caregiving is simply “Beginning”. This is when a person has actually begun to provide care for a loved one. It may be as simple as running errands, grocery shopping, paying bills or as complex as providing personal care or administering medications. The hallmark of this stage is simply that a loved one is dependent on this assistance.

During this stage a person needs to learn the appropriate skills needed to provide care. In surveying family caregivers, one of the greatest fears reported was the fear of inadequacy. “I simply don’t know how to provide care….” Whether it is learning how to transfer a person from bed to wheelchair, becoming acquainted with recipes to meet diet restrictions or understanding appropriate communication techniques, it is important to be educated and ready.

The second thing a beginning caregiver needs to learn is how to make good decisions regarding the safety and well being of the care-recipient. How are you going to make decisions? Will you involve the care-receiver? The family? Your physician?

And finally, a beginning caregiver needs to be able to assess his/her own needs for breaks, respite and assistance. It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of thinking you have to do it all – all of the time. Caregiver burnout is not only commonplace, it is deadly. Begin now to learn how to set boundaries and limits – and communicate them clearly to your loved one and other family members.
(Photo by prakar, shared via Flickr)

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