When it comes to caregiving, 44 million Americans and growing are taking part in providing care to a family member or other loved one. Caregiving duties may include everything from transportation to and from appointments, managing prescriptions, and more administrative health insurance wrangling to skilled nursing care, feeding, toileting, and the list goes on.
If you or someone you know is a caregiver, don’t miss these 6 helpful tips for simplifying daily caregiving:
Home Health Kit
If you care for someone with a chronic illness or condition that requires skilled monitoring, a home health kit can help prevent emergencies and keep your loved one out of the hospital. Basic devices like a blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter, and thermometer can go a long way to helping caregivers monitor vital signs regularly for their loved one. It also provides caregivers with the information and data they need to alert doctors or home health agencies about concerning issues that may require in-home diagnostic testing.
Caregiving can involve daily struggles and frustrations that may lead to stress, anxiety, or feelings of social isolation. Support groups may be hard to attend in person for a caregiver who lacks the backup to leave their loved one during the day, so online networks of caregivers provide a critical forum for support. Caregiving.com, WorkingDaughter.com, DaughtersUnited.com, Caregiver Space Community, Caregiver Collective, and Caregiver’s Livingroom all have active pages and private facebook groups for caregivers.
Ease of Use Tools
Looking for smart ways to save time, stress, and money? Tools and devices that can make daily caregiving tasks and needs simpler are just the ticket. Do you need to hand-feed your loved one or do they eat from bed? An overbed table with wheels can provide a moveable surface that lowers and raises to meet your loved one’s needs when sitting in bed or in a recliner. Does your love one still have the ability to grip and grab things? A grabber reacher tool can equip them with the ability to pick things up or grab things themselves, bolstering their own confidence and independence.
Seasoned caregivers will let you know that a fixed schedule is a must when it comes to caring for someone with special health needs. Not only do schedules provide structure to any given day, they help caregivers stay organized and their loved one’s feel empowered and secure knowing what is coming next. Designating times of day to wake, dress, take medicine, eat, exercise, go to bed, etc. can provide a reliable framework for managing care as well as prioritizing important activities like leisure time and daily fitness.
So often self-care falls way down the list for caregivers below all their other tasks, duties, and work. Building self-care kits and hobbies can play a critical role, however, in helping caregivers de-stress and avoid mental burnout. Simple items like a coloring book with new markers, a candle with a scent you enjoy, new yarn and knitting needles, calming music, a mechanical back or foot massager – these types of basic things can actually make a huge difference in helping caregivers find even a 15 minute respite during their day to unwind and relax.
Looking for the next great digital solution to help with caregiving? There are already many apps on the marketplace that can be downloaded to your smartphone or other digital device. Pillboxie helps seniors (and their caregivers) manage prescription doses, alerts, and reminders to refill. CareZone allows you to track all facets of information regarding your loved one’s care and condition, from doctors appointments, to notes, and pharmacy numbers. And the Caring Village App connects a whole care network of family members and friends so they stay up to date regarding your loved one’s care and can coordinate together.