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10 Tips for Family Caregivers by Larry

pills_medication1. Document, Document, Document and Document some more!

You never know when the documentation will come in handy.  It was the primary basis for getting me paid as my mother’s caregiver.

2. Ask questions of the professionals when you don’t understand!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions as that is the only way you learn.

3. Maintain a calendar and schedule but don’t be rigid about them.

You need to have a calendar to keep track of appointments and deadlines.

A daily schedule helps you remember everything that needs to be done today but be open to things coming up that change the schedule or your caree may want to do things in a different order be flexible.

4. Find a system that works for you to manage medications.

We are on our third system of organizing Mom’s pill as they do not fit the standard containers. On dialysis days she takes pills seven different times and on non dialysis days five different times. We have found a system that was recommended by the University of Wisconsin Transplant office. You use a large gallon bag for the week with a quart bag for each day (labeled with marker the day of the week) then one of the small pill bags in it for each time during the day (labeled with marker the time like Breakfast, Pre Dialysis, Post Dialysis, Lunch, Supper, bed time, over night or if time specific like 7AM, 3 PM, 11PM)

5. Attend appointments and care conferences with your caree.

This way you know what needs to be done and can have input on what has occurred. Your documentation may come in handy here as well.

6. Be open to new ideas!

A new way of doing things may be a refreshing change and may make things easier in the long run. It may not work and you can always change again.

7. The system will take its time to get anything done keep on top of it and it will happen. Document your interactions with who, when and how as well as what was discussed.

This is helpful with the he said, she said game and can also help in establishing that the system did not complete things on time and get things back dated or get things approved by default.

8. Learn as much as you can about your caree’s medical conditions. I research them online.

By knowing the conditions and information about them you know what to expect and can advocate for your caree when things do not seem right or are not progressing as they should.

9. Know side effects of medications and watch for them!

Something that may seem insignificant to you may be a side effect that is the first indication that something major is going wrong.

10. You know your caree best! (You have a PhD in your caree).

You spend the most time with your caree and know them better than the professionals do so do not be afraid to advocate for your caree!

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3 comments

  1. Avatar of Richard

    Larry, great tips and ideas each and every one. I particularly like #10, “You have a degree in your caree.” That could be on a tee. Great job Larry.

  2. Avatar of Pegi

    These are all great tips, thanks Larry.

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