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50+: Live Better, Longer

Getting Help from Other Caregivers

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Call at various times of the day to check on your parent and on the caregiver. Don't allow your calls (or visits) to become predictable. Showing up at unexpected times is a good idea, especially in the beginning. Of course, you don't have to say you're there to check up. Think of excuses to drop by.

If you're doing something nice for your parent (baking something special, picking up a small gift), consider doing the same for the caregiver.

If Grandpa is embarrassed about his nursing companion in front of the friends he encounters when he goes out for his walk, tell him to introduce the companion as "my friend." The real nature of the relationship is no one's business.

Create a checklist of issues (like temperature, breathing problems, medication) and ask each caregiver to fill out a column before they go off duty.

Caregivers provide your family with so many of the resources you need to keep your life and that of your parent vital. How much do you know about their families?

Make sure a home caregiver is comfortable in your home, that she knows she's welcome in the kitchen, on the patio, and so forth. Would a small refrigerator or microwave in the room she occupies (or elsewhere around the house) make her job easier?

Be realistic in your expectations for caregivers. Don't expect more of other people than you could ever do for yourself. In fact, accept that no paid caregivers, no matter how dedicated, are going to care as much as you do, and you will never be 100% satisfied with their care.

Assisted Living Facilities

Hunting for an appropriate assisted living facility for your loved one can be among the most traumatic experiences you will face in your life. The emotional end of it can be overwhelming; the financial and business end of it can make your head spin. Hire a geriatric care manager to help you through the maze of paperwork and choices. You can locate geriatric care managers in your area through your local Area Agency on Aging. To find geriatric care managers online or to learn whether your parent is eligible for free geriatric care management, contact Living Strategies or the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.

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