Choosing to become a caregiver for a loved one is a major life-changing decision. Here are some things to consider before making the commitment. Consider your options and learn as much as you can before making the choice that is best for you and your family.

  1. Time Commitment: When your loved one begins to need help, it is natural to want to become their caregiver. Caring for a loved one is a more than a full time job. It's a twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week job. Do not forget about your own well-being too. The Alzheimer Society of Canada offers programs to help caregivers manage stress. They recommend setting realistic expectations and not spending every waking moment worrying about care giving duties.
  2. Consider The Living Situation: At some point, your loved one will need more attention than a simply phone call or visit. Consider having them move in with you or you move in with them. It may mean moving them into an assisted living facility. Not sure what to do? Consider this. The care guide explains that moving them into a facility should be stress free, remind them of home and be an adjustment for everyone.
  3. It Will Be Demanding: You could become physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted handling for a loved one.HomeHealthUnited.org mentions that caregivers sometimes injure themselves while caring for a loved one. This happens when a loved one has to be lifted or you must squat to help them. Maintain good posture is important.
  4. The Hardest Part is Letting Go: Try to accept that you will be caring for your loved one until the end. Caring.com has tips on coping with your loved ones changes in mood and attitude. They recommend focusing on being there for your loved one and communicating your love and understanding to them above everything else.
  5. Figure Out The Money Situation: The bills will begin to stack up and taking care of someone you love is not cheap. Equipment and modifications to a household make bills start to stack up. AgingCare.com includes many helpful guides about financial situations for the families of those with Alzheimer's. These tax tips also include what paperwork you need when you decide to become the primary caregiver for your loved one.
  6. Find a Healthcare Service: You are not alone. Contact a local hospital or healthcare service to find caregivers to help you anytime you need it. WebMD gives a thorough overview of what hospitality care entails and how helpful it can be. They have people available to stay with you 24 hours a day and seven days week. Find people to stay overnight and in the event of an emergency.
  7. Get Some Training: It is important to learn methods like CPR or giving an injection. Affordable Home Health Care explains that becoming familiar with these methods will help you feel more confident helping with your loved one. The more you know, the more you will be willing and prepared to help. We Care Home Health Services also offers services to your home, workplace or community if you are needing additional help with these methods.
  8. Do not Forget to Communicate: Keep all your family members in the loop about what is happening. Even the one you are caring for. Talk about finances, living arrangements, medical care, etc. Caregiverstress.com suggests dealing with conflict before it becomes an issue. Make decisions together, ask for help, and leave grudges at the door.
  9. Develop a Routine: Keep your loved on a schedule to help minimizeize confusion. Try to keep them active and aware, like engaging them in conversation. For example, the Alzheimer's Care Guide includes information about symptoms your loved one may express on a daily basis, so be prepared.
  10. Plan activities for them: There are many activities a loved one with Alzheimer's can enjoy. ActivityTherapy.com mentions dozens of activities from walking to listening to music to cooking. The resource breaks down activities based on what level of Alzheimer's your loved one has.

About The Medical Arts Health Research Group:

The Medical Arts Health Research Group conducts clinical trials in the areas of Alzheimer's Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus among others. As a volunteer in a medical research study, a patient helps in the possible development of medical therapies that may offer better treatments and even cures for life-threatening and chronic diseases. People volunteer to participate in a medical research study for a number of reasons, including the advancement of science, hope for treatment that does not exist or improved medical care and to be involved in research that could help others.