Every new caregiver undergoes a steep learning curve. You’ll likely discover how to provide effective care through trial and error, but this doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the mistakes of other caregivers. Here are six common caregiving mistakes and tips for avoiding them.
1. Hiring the First Medical Professional You Find
New caregivers often have the job thrust upon them. Perhaps your loved one needs extra care after a stay in the hospital or after being diagnosed with dementia. Caregivers are often responsible for choosing doctors, physical therapists, or specialists for their loved ones. When time is of the essence, it can be tempting to go with the first referral. However, it’s in your loved one’s best interest to do some research before making a final decision. Being armed with knowledge is one of the first rules of caregiving.
Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated elder care, you can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care. Our caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise.
2. Not Being Careful with Medications
Many seniors have to take multiple pills at different times of the day, and it’s usually up to their caregivers to keep track of the medication schedule. New caregivers may be tempted to take shortcuts, but this can affect the efficacy of the medication. For example, if your loved one has a difficult time swallowing pills, don’t cut the pills into pieces or crush them into a powder, as this can alter how the body absorbs the drug.
3. Not Taking Notes during Doctor’s Visits
When attending a doctor’s visit with your loved one, always take diligent notes. Even if you have a good memory, you may not be able to retain all of the information relayed during the appointment. Taking notes can be crucial because it allows you to provide other family members with detailed information. Make sure to keep these notes in a file so you have a complete account of the doctor’s treatment advice.
4. Not Being Proactive about Medical Care
Many new caregivers have never had to navigate the healthcare system before. Your experience may have been confined to routine physicals and the occasional specialist treatment. As a caregiver, you’re going to have to become more proactive about your loved one’s medical treatments. When going to a general practitioner or a specialist, bring every piece of relevant medical information. There’s no guarantee healthcare specialists have shared reports, paperwork, and test results, and you need to have this information on hand.
5. Failing to Work as a Team
You can’t do everything yourself. While you may provide day-to-day care for your loved one, this doesn’t mean other family members can’t pitch in. If you’re taking care of an elderly parent, your siblings should take on some of the responsibilities. Instead of splitting the responsibilities arbitrarily, hand out tasks according to financial resources, proximity, time, and skills.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your loved one needs high-quality in-home care. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Columbia families rely on our respite caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.
6. Forgetting to Make a Medication Master List
A medication master list should be a complete list of everything your loved one takes, ranging from over-the-counter pain relievers to prescription medications. Also include pertinent details like the dosage and color of the pill.
Hiring a professional caregiver is one of the best ways to avoid a variety of caregiving-related mistakes and ensure your loved one receives high-quality in-home care. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of senior home care. Columbia Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. To create a customized care plan for your loved one, call us at (443) 233-1245 today.