Being a Caregiver is no easy feat! There are numerous tasks to accomplish daily and sometimes it can get overwhelming. The first thing to do is take a deep breath and approach every situation with a calm mind. Here is a list of tips to help you manage financial, time management and emotional situations:
IHSS(In-Home Supportive Services): This is a government run program by each individual state.The program is directed by each individual county under the California Department of Social Services. It pays family caregivers (or any appointed hired caregiver) based on the number of hours of care determined by each county. If you aren’t able to find a caregiver, the IHSS can help you do so. Apply for the IHSS here:IHSS Application
Medicare: This is health insurance for all people above the age of 65. Medicare covers all of the medical needs of the patient. This program will also help cover the costs of diagnostic testing for the neurodegenerative disorders that cause dementia including CT scans, MRI’s, and PET scans. Medicare also helps pay for inpatient psychiatric care, counseling, psychiatric evaluations, and medication management. Apply for Medicare: Medicare Application
Medicaid: This is health insurance for low income individuals. Medicaid pays for assisted living facilities and nursing homes as well. Check out if you are eligible for Medicaid and apply for this service here: Medicaid Application
HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program): This non-profit agency provides information about Medicare policies and helps you deal with insurance and insurance management. Contact HICAP: HICAP
Stress: Caring for an individual dealing with dementia can be quite stressful. There are a variety of events and documents to keep track of and it can sometimes seem overwhelming. Coping: Take a deep breath and relax. Detach yourself from the situation by going for a walk, talk with a friend, or read a book. Then, once you’ve calmed down, look at the situation from a calm and collected standpoint.
Anger: Sometimes you may feel as if you are wearing thin on patience due to caring for an individual 24/7. People dealing with dementia can be aggressive or non cooperative at times. Coping: Don’t bottle up all of your anger and frustration. Relieve it so that you can be the best caregiver you possibly can and take care of yourself too. Things to do include going for a walk, reading a book, or talking to a friend.
Frustration: Caregiving is not an easy task. It requires a lot of patience and sometimes it can get challenging especially when the care recipient is not cooperating. Coping: Take some time for yourself. Relax, take a break, and make sure you plan a lot of time between activities such as doctor appointments. This will make your life easier.
Anxiety: When caring for someone with dementia, some things won’t go as planned. You might feel that you are not in control of the situation leading to feelings of anxiety. Anxiety can cause an urge to cry, heart palpitations, and the urge to run away from the situation. Coping: Take a step back from the situation and relax. Take deep breaths, drink water or tea, and meditate. Deal with the situation when you are in a calm state of mind.
Irritability: When caring for someone all day, it can cause feelings of lashing out at the tiniest of mishaps. This makes you and the person who you are caring for be placed in a bad mood. Coping: Remove yourself from the situation for a bit. Do something that relaxes you such as talking to a friend. Getting some rest is also beneficial as we are the most irritable when tired.
Depression: Watching your loved one lose their memory and become a completely different person is difficult. This can lead to developing depression. Coping: Talk to a depression specialist, your physician, or a counselor who understands the stress of being a caregiver. Depression should not be taken in a light manner. Studies have shown that exercise helps reduce depression, so make sure to stay active. Joining a local caregivers support group can also make a difference,
Loneliness: Being a caregiver means devoting a great deal of time and energy on the care recipient. This can cause you to lose interaction with your friends and other family members. Coping: In times like this, it is essential to take breaks and spend some time on you. Find a friend, neighbor, or family member who would be willing to help you out in caregiving so that you can spend some time recharging. Consider taking your loved one to a senior day center a couple of hours every day so that you can still continue to live your life.
Have a Caregiving Team: We can’t do it all ourselves. Having a team of people who can take care of your loved one really helps you maintain balance in your life. This will ensure that your loved one is taken care for and allow you to maintain your work life balance. Make sure that each caregiver has a defined task and know their role. This will make caregiving more efficient.
Schedule time for yourself: In order to be the best caregiver you can be, you must have energy. The only way to do this is to find time to rest and do activities you enjoy. Have a back up caregiver who can look after your loved one for a couple of hours or consider senior day centers. It’s important for you to recharge so that you can be the most productive version of yourself for the rest of the day.
Plan for the Future: It’s important that you stay organized with your schedule in order for you to accomplish all the tasks you need to do for the day. Make sure you know your work schedule and make it fit with your loved ones appointments and doctor visits. Ensure that your loved one always has someone with them. It could be another family member, a paid caregiver, or a senior day center.
Stay On Task: We all have a million things we want to accomplish in a day and sometimes it is easy to lose focus on the task at hand. As a caregiver for someone dealing with dementia, it is important stay on top of the tasks at hand so that your loved one is taken care for. Live in the moment. Caregiving can be an enjoyable process as you are making memories with your loved one.