Caregivers: Not Sure Where to Start?
You just got a call from the hospital. The nurse says that your mother or grandmother has been admitted. As the next of kin, it’s your job to handle her treatment. Now you’ve got a Herculean task in front of you. Where do you start?
While it’s often intimidating to go about arranging health care for a loved one, there are several things that you can do to make the process easier:
Get an idea of your loved one’s health. The first step is always to get a good idea of what is going on. Once you have discussed the situation with doctors, you can start to make plans. Pay close attention to your loved one’s needs following discharge: will she require around the clock nursing care? What is the potential for recovery? If recovery is unlikely, how well will she be able to function?
Take stock of the situation. If you can, try to learn more about your loved one’s financial standing. Also, wander through their house and do your own inspection. Is it safe for the occupant? Are the bathrooms accessible for someone with limited mobility? Are there tripping hazards or other safety issues? If the house isn’t suitable, then you will probably need to investigate remodeling parts of the house or moving your loved one into a safer location.
Be patient. Getting old isn’t easy, and losing one’s independence can be a traumatic experience. Try not to engage in conflict head-on. Instead, try to understand the emotional struggles that she is going through.
Take care of yourself. Lastly, many people forget to take care of themselves during tough times. If you aren’t getting enough sleep or time to unwind, then you won’t be able to properly care for your loved one.
While it is never easy getting the news that your loved one is in the hospital, taking it step by step can help lessen the stress.