Mary found herself in a caregiving role when her elderly father suffered a stroke. Upon his return home from the hospital, she realized he needed assistance with dressing, meals, laundry, medications, and more. He had lived independently for many years, but when things changed, Mary felt overwhelmed by this new responsibility and wasn’t sure where to start.

Caregiving can be mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging. Here are some tips and tools to stay organized and lessen stress:

  • Gather important documents and information in a file or safe place. This includes contact information for the senior’s doctors, health insurance information and other insurance policies, banking and other financial information, and advance directives, will and living will, power of attorney. Obtain release forms as needed so you can communicate with your loved one’s healthcare providers.
  • Organize medications. Have a list of medications, dosages, etc. handy for doctor visits, and set up a daily pill organizer. This can be as simple as a basic plastic container with storage compartments for each day’s meds or an automatic pill dispenser with a reminder alarm.
  • Hang up a large, easy-to-read activities calendar. This will help you and your loved one keep track of medical appointments, social activities, visits from family and friends, and other activities.
  • Identify resources in your community. Learn as much as you can about the senior’s diagnoses and what to expect. Many caregivers and families choose to hire a care manager who can assist with all steps of the process, from finding appropriate home care services to coordinating care with the senior’s medical team. Navigating the elder care system can be difficult, and having expert assistance brings peace of mind.
  • Enlist help from others. Breaks from caregiving are essential for your mental and physical health. You can’t do it all. Accept help from family members or friends to pick up groceries, prepare a meal, or take the senior out shopping. Consider joining a local support group for caregivers.

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, or would like more information about any of the above tips, please give us a call at 850-894-6720 or email us at info@gcmsolutions.net. We’ll be happy to assist!