December 16, 2017

Four Ways to Prepare to Be a Caregiver

Here's the thing, sometimes life gives you unexpected curve balls... I know I've seen it happen too many times in my life already. I've been told this by my elders too. One day someone is up, walking around, totally healthy... and the next, they're in recovery and under the supervision of a home health aide. It happens.

While I'm blessed enough to say a majority of my family members are in tip-top health, I do have experience providing care for those in need. I'm actually a formerly certified nurse assistant, so I know firsthand how much love and determination it takes to be a caregiver. I am one. It takes a big heart to provide care to loved ones, but it also takes patience, a new set of boundaries, and sometimes even arming yourself with a new knowledge-base.

Today I'm going to suggest a few ways you can prepare for this stage in life, including tips for helping you cope and how you can save some money while transitioning into your new role:

1. Learn to listen whole-heartedly - You'll want to re-evaluate the way you communicate with your "patient". Listening to body language is of utmost importance and be humble in your responses. Do everything you can to understand, even if it's hard at times.

2. Bring on the basics - You probably wouldn't think of it until it's time, but Sam's Club is a great place to find basic care giving items. Things like a walker, supplemental drinks, Poise products, Depends products, a gait belt, and several other necessities.

The protection having these items offers can provide both the patient and the caregiver with peace of mind... and luckily you can find most of what you need at Sam's for a great deal!

Plus, if you're feeling bashful, you can always use discreet shipping from Sam's Club to get the supplies needed to provide care, as well as the ability to use club pick up, scan & go, and more.

The item I think is the most valuable when making Sam's run as a caregiver is Ensure Nutrition Shakes. I know the power of providing adequate nutrition is important and finding a great deal on these supplemental items is a true blessing. 

3. Rethink boundaries - While we all have a "bubble" and find comfort in it, with care giving that bubble goes out the door. As a CNA, I held people up, I helped them roll from side to side, and the list goes on. You no longer have personal boundaries once you start providing care for most patients and really, no topic of discussion should be off limits either. You'll be discussing bowel movements, catheters, and other private matters regularly as a caregiver.

4. Remember - My last bit of advice to a caregiver is to remember. Remember what it's like to be vulnerable, remember that your patient (whether a family member or a stranger) is a person and has likely done amazing things in their life, remember the golden rule - treat others as you would like to be treated.

With that said, I'm so lucky that I have had the pleasure of learning to provide care from some very loving and well-educated individuals... and while I'm not currently using my certification, I know when the time comes to care for those I love, I'll be ready... 

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