Looking after a family member or friend can be a 24/7 task. Even if it’s not, in most cases it’s impossible for one individual to help a patient with all his or her needs. Here are six tips on creating a team that can provide the best possible care without overburdening anyone.
· Divide Responsibilities: Family, friends and health care professionals can share the caregiving tasks.
· Share Decision-Making: Make sure each family member has input into decisions around arranging and providing care. Ensure the person receiving care is involved as much as possible in those decisions.
· Assign roles: Assess who best fits which responsibility. It’s better to determine who can carry out each task best, rather than sharing everything equally.
· Be Flexible: Roles may need to change from time to time.
· Double up: Implement a buddy system, so you know there’s someone to pitch in if something comes up and you’re unavailable.
· Be clear: Be very specific about the kind of help you need – most people want to help they are just unsure of what to do
Need more information on who to ask for services for an aging parent, or tips on how to communicate with a loved one about their care options? Or maybe you could use a few reassuring words to help manage the physical and emotional aspects of caring for others.
That’s when you should Ask Elizabeth, a free service offered by Saint Elizabeth Health Care. Anyone can call 1-855-Ask-Eliz (275-3549) or chat online through our web site (www.saintelizabeth.com), to connect with a qualified health professional and gain confidential and practical information.
Ask Elizabeth is part of Saint Elizabeth’s Aging Well @ Home Institute, which draws on the wealth of our experience in research, education, innovation and caregiving support. At Saint Elizabeth, we are constantly striving to make health better, especially for seniors.