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Essential List of Resources and Tips for New Caregivers

Our tips for new caregivers has an essential list of resources including knowing your care recipient's information, checking insurance information, and more. Caregiving can be an overwhelming experience at first. But with our resources and advice for new caregivers, you’ll be able to transition smoothly into your new role.

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UPDATED: Aug 6, 2020

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Becoming a first time caregiver, whether by choice or situation, can be an overwhelming experience. AARP studies found that nearly half of the caregivers in the U.S. stated that they have too much to handle and find their job to be emotionally stressful. An assortment of responsibilities can lead to caregivers becoming emotionally burned out and unable to handle the tasks that caregiving demands.

With this in mind, here is a list of must-have resources every new caregiver should have to make their life easier.

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Know Your Care Recipient’s Information

No caregiver situation is the same. However, your care recipient most likely has some health complication that requires regular visits to the doctors.

Here’s a list of essential information to keep on hand:

  • Important health information – Any health complications, allergies, issues, etc. that your care recipient may have. Look out for the signs and any additional problems of the recipient’s health issues.
  • List of important contacts – Keep a list of doctors, family members, friends, etc. that you may need to contact should anything happen. This can also help your care recipient stay organized should they want to reach out to someone.
  • Medication information – Keep an organized list of any medications your care recipient takes, what they’re for, and how often they should be taken.
  • Your care recipient’s needs – Sit down with your care recipient to identify their specific needs to help you understand what duties you may need to take on. This will help you further plan your transition into being a caregiver.

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Check What Insurance Information You Need for Your Recipient

Insurance is one of the more challenging aspects of new caregivers. Chances are, your care recipient may need to change their coverage based on the new living arrangements. This means adjusting their health insurance to cover caregiving expenses or adding you to their car insurance if you’ll be driving their vehicle. Be sure to make the adjustments necessary to fit your and your recipient’s needs.

You may need to help them with their life insurance so that everything is in place when they pass. Need help selecting insurance? Here’s a list of top insurance agencies broken down by auto, home, life, and health insurance options.

Have Access to Mobility and Safety Tools as Needed

In-home safety is one of the more critical aspects of caregiving. Your care recipient may need tools and aids in place to help them maintain their independence.

Bathroom Safety Aids:

  • Grab bars
  • Shower/Bathtub seats
  • Raised toilet seats
  • Commodes

Mobility Aids:

  • Walking canes
  • Wheelchairs
  • Rollators
  • Knee scooters

Accessibility tools:

  • Reachers and grabbers
  • Dexterity tools such as jar openers and pencil cushions

It’s also essential to have tools for yourself in place. Tools like back braces, patient lifts, and other physical devices will help you in your day-to-day caregiving activities.

Preserving your body is critical, especially considering caregiving requires a lot of physical exertion.

Looking for a go-to guide for caregiving? Read the 2020 Ultimate Guide to Caregiving. We cover everything you need to know about caregiving, including the tools you’ll need, skill sets, and how to practice self-care to lead a better life in your new role.

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Make a Plan for Staying on Track with Your Caregiving

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Planning is an essential key to making caregiving easier on one’s self. An organizational plan can help you keep your head on straight and reduce the chances of caregiver burnout and losing personal time.

A few tips to help make your plan include different aspects. Make sure you plan for several things such as:

  • Staying organized – What tools and resources will help you stay organized and keep track of your caregiving responsibilities?
  • A calendar with appointments, meetings, and events – Calendars can be a great tool to keep track of where both you and your care recipient need to be and when.
  • For personal time – It’s essential to have a plan for your personal life. The most significant cause of caregiver burnout is not effectively dedicating time for one’s self.
  • If something happens to you – If your caregiving role is significant, you must have a backup person in place should something happen to you. That way your care recipient is taken care of should something happen, and you can’t be their caregiver.
  • If something were to happen to your care recipient – Set time aside to create a will with your care recipient. This will ensure that everything is taken care of should they pass.
  • In-home emergencies (fires, break-ins, etc.) – Have a fire evacuation plan should a fire occur in the home. Also, discuss what to do should someone break into the house.
  • Your caregiving responsibilities – Write out your duties and go over them with your care recipient. That way both of you are on the same page in regards to expectations.

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Make Sure that You Have Outside Support

It’s always best practice to get help from outside sources. This means joining caregiving forums and groups where you can ask questions and get tips from other caregivers just like you.

Another source of support can be from your friends and family. Don’t be afraid to lean on someone when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Look through this list of forums, groups, and blogs to check out:

Caregiving can be the most overwhelming experience at first. But with the right resources, you’ll be able to transition smoothly and take on your new role.

Author Bio:

Brandon Landgraf is a digital marketing manager and content creator for Carex Health Brands, a health and wellness brand whose mission is to improve the lives of others. He enjoys writing content that empowers others to live better, be healthier, and lead happier lifestyles.

About Sara Routhier

Sara Routhier, Managing Editor, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world of insurance. Her work has been featured on: CBS, Denver Post, DriversEd, ESPN, Finance101, Finder, FOX5, Legal Advice, MSN, PrettyMotors, SeattleTimes, StarTribune, USA Today, WalletHub, Yahoo, and the Zebra.

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