Monday, November 14, 2016

Consider Caregiver Challenges when Considering LTC Options

When caring for a loved one or a friend, we often focus on the needs of the care receiver
and forget how heavy the responsibility is for the caregiver. Keep the following advice in mind when planning future long-term care options:
  1. Everyone needs personal space. When someone becomes a full-time caregiver, that space and time will become infringed upon. Establish a rule of separation for an hour a day or half day a week or one long weekend quarterly. Ensure some mental and physical alone time.
  2. Communication can become difficult for the ill. They may speak softer and many times have a hard time hearing. In some cases they may stop talking. Be proactive. Have an intentional conversation sitting face to face without distractions. Speak up! Wait for the speaker to finish his or her sentence. Keep an open mind. This also works when visiting people in facilities or hospitals. A gentle touch or squeeze of the hand can mean a great deal. We all need the human touch in our lives.
  3. Mood disorders can be a challenge. Be aware that for both the caregiver and receiver apathy, anxiety and depression can be symptoms of the change in conditions. Look for support groups for both to share problems and feelings. NO ONE IS AN ISLAND.
  4. As a caregiver, don’t let your health be challenged. 24/7 care giving is not a care plan and it is not healthy. Exercise, drink more water and make certain to keep your own doctor’s appointments. For your mental health, give yourself a regular candid analysis of what you can and cannot do. Consider finances, heavy lifting ability, sleep and nutrition. Caregivers need an established support system to allow respite from giving care.
When considering long-term care, and if you decide that self-insuring is the best way to handle the care for the illness of a loved one, don’t forget the financial, physical and mental cost of being the caregiver!