Caregiving 101 – Guidelines for Caring for a Loved One

Family caregivers provide many services for loved ones. As a caregiver, here are several guidelines to keep in mind.


  • Remember that the person you are caring for is an adult. Unless that person has some form of dementia, he or she has the right to make their own decisions. If their decisions could be detrimental to themselves or others, provide them with suggestions as alternatives. It may be difficult at times to steer them in the right direction, especially if their options become more limited due to health issues or financial constraints. If you allow them to make choices about mundane activities such as what to eat for dinner or what to wear today, it maybe easier to convince them that driving, for example, is no longer in their best interest.


  • We sometimes do things for our loved ones that they can do and should continue to do for themselves. Encourage them to do those things so they can maintain a feeling of independence. This may help them feel better about needing a caregiver.


  • Our loved ones can find it difficult to have to depend on others, and many worry about being a burden. Because of these mixed feelings, make sure you do what you promise, because even though they may not express it, they really do need you.


  • You must take care of yourself. Caregivers often exhaust themselves by trying to handle caregiving responsibilities on top of normal daily routines. This is where a home care agency that provides respite care can keep you from becoming frustrated and exhausted. Respite care simply means that someone else steps in to care for your loved one while you take a much-needed break – whether that’s a couple of hours a week or while you are on vacation, having a home care agency help on occasion can be a life saver.


  • Finally, if a loved one becomes ill, some family members may want to do everything, while others will do very little unless they’re asked. However, siblings and other relatives can do much to ease your caregiving burden. Also remember that there are home care agencies and other community resources that can help you when you need it.