Being a caregiver is one of the most challenging and rewarding roles in the world. If you have taken on this responsibility, you have probably done your research to provide the best care that you can. Whether you knew this time was coming or your loved one’s medical needs changed suddenly, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed with your new role. To help you transition into becoming a caregiver it is important to manage your stress, so we have gathered this helpful advice for a new caregiver:
Do Your Research
Being informed about your loved one’s condition is critical for medication management, meals, transportation, and every other aspect of daily living. There are also many cognitive factors in illnesses that you might not have considered. How well your loved one is able to understand instructions and what kind of emotional changes to expect can be just as important as physical needs. If you are aware of the mental changes that come with illness, you will know how to effectively communicate. As a caregiver, you may need to adjust daily schedules, break old habits and introduce new ones, and ease the fear and loneliness that often accompanies struggles with aging.  Read as much information as you can on the medical issues your loved one is facing and ask his or her physician for tips on care, both physically and mentally.
Many times, caregivers focus all of their attention on making sure their loved one is safe and comfortable and brush aside their own needs. As a caregiver, you need to be healthy and well-rested, otherwise, you will not be able to provide the level of care that your loved one deserves. This is why an important piece of advice for a new caregiver is to set aside a few minutes every morning or before bed to have time for yourself. It is also helpful to take 10 minutes throughout the day to step away from emotional situations. By remaining calm, you can re-focus and avoid potential arguments that will only worsen the situation. Whether it is reading a book, meditating, or going for a walk, taking a break from your hectic life every day is a simple way to de-stress. Not only will this improve the overall mood for you and your loved one, but it also has health benefits, like lowered blood pressure and reduced muscle tension.
In this day and age, we have plenty of gadgets to help simplify life. Don’t underestimate the help that technology can provide you. From setting alarms for medication reminders to medical alert monitors, the medical benefits of technology for seniors are infinite. As a caregiver, you can also take advantage of other ways the internet is able to help you throughout your day. There is no shortage of apps for smartphones and tablets that can make time-consuming tasks a quick and effortless chore. Look into shopping for groceries online, meal delivery, and scheduling appointments on office websites to free up your time and save you from running errands that could easily be cut out. 
Asking for help can be very hard and accepting it when it’s offered can be even harder. Our next piece of advice for a new caregiver is to not be afraid to ask others for assistance right from the start instead of waiting until you feel overwhelmed. When you are preparing to become a caregiver, make a list of your new daily tasks to see what you feel confident handling on your own. You may notice some things that are not realistic for you to do alone and identifying these jobs and reaching out will help you stay ahead of the game. Asking family and friends right from the start if they are available to call during emergencies or over-scheduled days will give you peace of mind that you have back up assistance. As your loved ones need change, you can also look into private duty nursing or volunteer programs to provide professional, reliable medical care.
Consider An Independent Retirement Community
Do your research, take advantage of technology to help budget your time, accept the help of others and most importantly, make sure you take time for yourself! We hope our advice for a new caregiver is helpful to you as you begin your journey. At Riddle Village, we emphasize an independent retirement lifestyle that fits the unique needs of each resident. Contact our team or give us a call at 610-891-3700 to learn more about our programs, activities, and amenities.