Richard shares his first ten tips for family caregivers as part of our 10 Tips a Day initiative; we’ll share more of his tips throughout the month. You can connect with Richard on his profile: @kreisler.
1) Keep a one-page Medical Information Sheet on you caree, which includes medical and insurance information, allergies, emergency contacts, surgeries, etc. in your car or purse always.
2) Make up a binder with tabs by month (works best for me). As you receive copies of prescriptions, discharge paperwork, appointment notes, phone call notes, etc. place them in chronological order in the binder. Take this with you to appointments. Keep “Updated” copies of your medical information sheet in the front so you always have it.
3) If your caree is with another family member often or attends a day program like Robert, make sure they also have a copy of the Medical Information Sheet. Easier than them calling you and having to transpose the list over a cell phone.
4) Take a First Aid or CPR class to feel more comfortable handling the care needed.
5) If you don’t have a stop watch available when taking the pulse, monitoring a seizure or other need for one, use the “clock” app on your phone. Most of them have a clock, timer, stopwatch, etc.
6) Set up a support system with family members, other family caregivers, either in your community or online.
7) Research your caree’s illness. The more you know the better a caregiver you are. I’ve been a caregiver and caree for 21+ years and I’m still learning about my illness.
8) You can’t step in and know everything. Give yourself a break, you very well may make a few mistakes. I know I did, but you will find out how to repair them.
9) To “every” appointment take a list of questions.
10) Take five minutes for yourself, whenever possible.
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