Caregiving in 10 Important Steps

Being a caregiver is filled with struggles and responsibilities.  It's an endless everyday battle against obstacles and pulling forces. When you manage to overcome one, another one surfaces.  There are no specific rules or guidelines that will tell you how to be a caregiver as every case will be different and will require decision making on the spot.  There are however, a few concepts that should be kept in mind and will make you a better caregiver.

1.  Somebody That You Used to Know

When you start caring for a loved you need to keep in mind that that person has gone or will be going through physical, mental and emotional changes. These changes will most likely trigger frustration and fear. Your loved one may take what they are feeling out on you and treat you harshly, avoid talking to you and others. Remember that person that you used to know before the situation came about. Remember them as a person and a loved one. It is your job as a caregiver to give a dignified loving care based on that person the care receiver was before and what they deserve.

2. Personal Boundaries and Privacy

As a caregiver you have to be sensitive and careful about taboo topics. When a loved finds him or herself in a situation where they have to get assistance to use the bathroom, get dressed, and to shower, there is a sense of embarrassment and little self worth.  Help them get past those feelings by being empathic and inviting them to talk about the situation. Allow them to communicate to you how they feel and show your genuine concern on the matter.  Once the topic has been discussed it will be better accepted by the care receiver and it will be easier for you to perform your caregiver job.

3. Patience

The virtue of patience is one of the most important ones you must have. Many times throughout your caregiving years of duty you will lose patience, it's a human situation we are prone to. When this happens, you need to take a moment, leave the room, the house, or the situation for the time you need, and breathe deep. Never take your frustration and anger out on the person you are caring for. Also, make sure you have a way to release frustration and stress on a daily basis. In the long run, if you build up frustration and stress it will take a toll on you in a really ugly way.

4. Trust

Trust between the caregiver and the care receiver must be complete. You are providing an intimate care for someone and you need to carry yourself with self confidence so that person you are caring for feels he or she is in good hands. Caregiving will always give you unexpected twists and turns, and although it can be scary, you need to have the courage to hang on to the best you can. Always be in constant personal growth within the field of caregiving with the latest news and products and ways that can help you be the best at what you do.

5. The more you know the better

It should be among your top priorities to learn anything and everything about the condition the care receiver is suffering from. Talk to doctors, nurses, other caregivers, friends who have been in the similar situation. Knowledge is the best tool for you to arm yourself with. It will provide you confidence and guide you through the hard parts of caregiving. You will be able to have better decision making ways while you show to be competent for that loved one.  This will allow him or her to be more relaxed and accept your help easily.

6.  Don't make it an obligation

Being the caregiver of your loved one should be something that comes from your heart and good will.  You will touch the life of another person by being selfless and loving. Make caregiving something that you are happy to do, and not something that is being done out of obligation.

7. Be Humble

Although the care receiver might be impaired due to their condition they will still have a much valued opinion. An elderly loved one can be a great teacher of love and life. Listen to what they have to say. Never disregard their opinions before you give some thought to what they are telling you. They have the right to a point of view and the right to be considered.

8. The Clues in Body Language

Body language is as important as verbal language. A lot human communication and interaction happen with body language. Through body languages you are able to see if your loved one is experiencing mood changes on determined scenarios. Sometimes they will use body language to tell you something is really wrong with them. Be sensitive to those red flags. They can also express gratitude and love through body language, and if you are not paying attention you might miss how wonderful that feels.

9. The Limits of Responsiveness

As a caregiver you will always want to be attentive and ready for when your loved one calls you or needs something. However, you need to learn to balance his or her needs. As a caregiver, you will always be filled with issues and plenty to do.  Your loved one might not be able to tell which issue is urgent and which one is not, but you are. Always acknowledge any requests they have for you and if you detect it is not urgent, assure them you will get to it as soon as you can. Explain to them you are busy at the time and learn to balance your responsiveness.

10. Communication through Touch

Show affection whenever you can and whenever you are allowed to by the care receiver. We all need a little affection sometime. Human touch can heal the heart. Hugs, holding hands, soft patting on their skin and other forms of human touch can be truly reassuring and of great value to your loved one.