Tips for Caregiving

  1. Create a list of tasks. Caregiving, like any responsibility, involves tasks of varying importance. Start by making a list of all of your caregiving tasks. Then, use it to decide how to divide the tasks between friends, family, professionals, and other volunteers.
  2. Be proactive. Being proactive means taking charge and planning as much as possible to prevent last-minute emergencies. This can also help provide a sense of control and order. Create schedules that list which relative, friend, or other volunteer is available when and for what tasks. Make sure that all of the caregivers involved have some time to be away without feeling guilty or concerned. Long-distance caregiving takes even more planning. Find out more about how to be an effective long-distance caregiver.
  3. Be a problem solver. To be a good problem solver, identify problems, find out what is needed, and follow through. Do not be afraid to seek advice and help from others. Look for creative solutions that work for your and the person you care for.
  4. Try to stay positive. Having a positive attitude can help set the tone for all that you do. You may not have control of what happens to you, but you can change how you react. To help you cope, talk with other members of the caregiving team. You may also wish to talk with friends, religious or spiritual advisors, counselors, and health care professionals.
  5. Know yourself. Recognize your own strengths and weaknesses as a caregiver. This allows you to set boundaries and know when to ask for help. Setting limits can help you and the person you care for. The person you care for can exercise some independence, while you get a break. It is important to recognize when you need a break so you don’t feel burned out. Read more about how caregivers can take care of themselves.
  6. Consider professional and volunteer services. These services include professional home care, home-delivered meals, and help with everyday activities. Some community agencies have volunteers who can help with transportation or advocate for health insurance or other benefits. A local hospital or community social worker is a great source for referrals to programs in your community.