Being a caregiver can feel a lot like being a lone ranger. We know other caregivers are “out there,” but our day-to-day lives don’t allow us to meet with others who are facing the same challenges we face. Many caregivers go online to search for other caregivers to light their path.
Having access to these insights can make a big difference, since research shows that caregivers manage better if they feel confident that about handling the daily hassles of caregiving. A 2016 University of Pittsburgh study that drew from the experiences of 91 caregiving families shows that caregivers with a greater sense of self-efficacy (the belief that you can handle a situation) were less likely to be depressed. While you know better than anyone the specific problems you and your loved one must address, you can still learn a lot from other caregivers and experts.
Luckily, more and more caregivers today are sharing their own experiences and insights via blogs. These sites not only provide useful tips and techniques, they also allow you to take part in an online community and social support system – which is especially beneficial if you and your loved one are isolated. If you have access to a computer or smartphone, you can easily reach out to others through caregivers’ blogs. Also, you can often ask the bloggers or readers questions directly through the comments sections or via direct email.
What do the best blogs have in common? They remind us we’re not alone. They give us a mirror, and place to go to, a pal who has dealt with some of the same fears and frustrations we have. The best blogs remind us why we do what we do. They remind us to take a minute. That it’s OK, we’re OK. The best blogs invite us to tag along.
We put together a list of 12 of the best blogs out there to help family caregivers in their own caregiving journeys. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to start blogging about your own caregiving experience!
While forgetfulness may be common among the elderly, memory loss is not part of the aging process. Our brains can create new brain cells at any age, so don’t assume your senior loved one’s sudden inability to recall key information is trivial.
And while there may be no surefire way to tell the difference between mere forgetfulness or dementia without clinical tests, there are signs that things aren’t normal. It is imperative to not ignore these signs:
Not just for parent’s safety, but for other drivers on the road as well. Your intervention could make the difference for them too, so be diligent if your confidence in your loved one’s driving ability is waning, and warning signs, like damage to the car, start appearing.
Does your loved one look sick? Has he or she lost significant weight?
Signs of noticeable weight loss or unsanitary conditions shouldn’t be dismissed. It’s not enough to just clean and feed this person. If your loved one forgets to do things like shower, change clothes or eat, it’s time to have a conversation about assistance going forward.
If you start seeing bruises or abrasions on your senior loved one, you need to ask him or her how it happened and immediately do whatever is necessary to prevent future falls. A notable benefit of professional care providers is that many are trained or certified in fall prevention, and can quickly fall-proof your loved one’s home to ensure he or she remains safe.
For more information on fall-proofing your loved one’s home, click here.
Repeated aggression or hostility will take its toll on family caregivers. Caregiver burnout is not only a threat to the family caregiver, but it can unintentionally place a care recipient in danger. If your loved one’s attitude becomes too aggressive, it may be worth considering a trained professional who has experience working with similar care recipients.
Don’t write off this behavior as laziness, especially if your loved one has traditionally been a clean and organized person. The unkempt home could signal more significant problems that shouldn’t be ignored. And it’s not enough to just help get the house in shape. Your loved one may be reaching a state of dependency, and the condition of the house can be indicative of that. Get more details on Care24