Caregiving and planning

According to Web site suite101.com, planning and preparing for caregiving before the responsibilities begin can greatly enhance the caregiving process for both caregiver and care receiver. Before embarking on the caregiving journey, prospective caregivers should thoroughly think through what it means to be a caregiver, including the personal sacrifices and adjustments that may occur. It is also important to have a good physician that is well-versed in aging-related concerns, to help guide and advise the caregiver.

Prospective caregivers should research the medical conditions of the care receivers as well, gathering information on any related treatments, therapies, and long-term prognoses. All concerned family members should be included in the decision-making process and the sooner the better. Primary caregivers should not hesitate to ask other family members for help, and should welcome help when it is offered. Support groups and educational workshops may be a great resource for prospective caregivers - this will give them reliable information on what it truly means to be a caregiver. Include the care receivers in the planning process as well.

It can be very reassuring for caregivers to know they are following the wishes of the older folks, especially if they are no longer able to communicate these wishes. Visit nursing homes, adult homes, and assisted-living facilities, and bring the care receivers along as well. It is much easier to make sound decisions on living situations before a medical crisis occurs. Contact eldercare agencies to see what services are available, what they cost, and what the qualifications are. Make sure wills are current. This may also be a good time to discuss burial wishes. Finally, prospective caregivers need to make sure they include time for favorite activities in any schedule. This will help sustain the caregiver and will prevent caregiver burnout.

For more information contact the Caregiver Resource Center.

The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620. Information is also periodically provided by the Behavioral HealthServices North Caregiver Resource Center. They may be reached at 565-4543 or 565-4625.

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