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How to Be a Caregiver for Your Loved Ones

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Many would think that to be a caregiver is just looking after another person, but there is more than meets the eye. Over the years, you may find yourself in a situation where you are entrusted to take care of another person - be it your grandparents, parents, siblings, relatives or friends.

This may cause you some alarm and perhaps unease, especially if that individual is particularly important to you and you want nothing but the best for them. In this short article, we will be discussing about some of the traits a caregiver will need in order to care for another person.

  1. Patience There will be an adjustment period for both you and the patient as you get accustomed to new chores, appointments, logistics and more. It is important to be patient with both yourself, and your loved one – everyone adjusts differently and some may take a while longer to get used to new practices. Being patient also means understanding that there may be changes and things may not go as planned. There may also be hesitation at times on the part of the person who is receiving the care.

  2. Compassion Compassion and empathy is important as it is a hard time for your loved one – often times, we can only do our best to put ourselves in their shoes but it may not always be received well. This is when being patient is also important, as often it will take time for the person receiving the care to get used to the new changes.

  3. Attentiveness Another trait a caregiver should possess would be attentiveness, and this can be applied in many ways. For example, during doctor’s appointments, your loved one may not be in the best state to process crucial information that has been relayed by the doctor. You can step up and make a note about the questions that you would like to ask the doctor or nurses, and take down information related to your loved one’s condition. You can also portray attentiveness by understanding and noticing the little things that your loved one may need – be it a blanket when they are cold, food that they can or cannot eat, or arranging transport when needed. Noticing their emotional and physical changes is also important so that you can help to provide moral support or physical support when required. Sometimes, your loved one may find difficulties in voicing out how they are feeling or little things that they think are unimportant.

  4. Dependability It is crucial that your loved ones know that they are able to depend on you in terms of providing the care that they need. Knowing that they can count on you will reassure them that they are being looked after.

Being a caregiver is an extremely courageous role. It is a fulfilling journey as you meander through tough times together with your loved one. Although you are taking care of them, you also have to remember to spare some time and take care of yourself. It is not easy juggling multiple aspects – coordination of appointments, insurance claims, transport, medication and more – and apart from handling all of those, it is vital that you carve out some time for yourself to wind down.

Communicating openly with your loved one about both of your stresses and struggles can help create a support system where both of you are understanding each other and aiding one another. After all, both of you are a team fighting the illness along with the help of doctors and nurses for the wellbeing of your loved one.

We hope that this short article has helped to give an insight on what it takes to be a caregiver, and also serves as a reminder that apart from taking very good care of your loved one, you should take care of your own wellbeing too.

- Written by Lina and Jolene

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