Advice for caring for a loved one at home

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:25 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - When caring for a loved one, health care workers say it’s important the caregiver focus on their own health and wellbeing.

November is National Family Caregivers Month.

HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Home Health and Hospice Services Clinic Manager Charlotte Sloan said the first step is understanding what you and your loved one is battling.

“Take the time to learn about the person they’re taking care of and what the disease is, what it’s going to look like, learning more about their medicines,” she said. “Honestly, the knowledge of that will be very helpful in easing some of that anxiety.”

“Every family caregiving situation is unique,” said Angela Johnson with Safe at Home Senior Care.

She said while every situation is different, navigating it requires caregivers to make time for themselves.

“You have to make sure that you fill your cup as well,” Johnson said. “You have to take care of your health needs. And don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for assistance early.”

Sloan said caregivers must take care of themselves to be effective.

“Sleep, you need to get good sleep,” she said. “You need to have a healthy body and so nutrition is very important. Accept support and seek out support of your friends, family.”

Sloan also recommends reaching out for support to local organizations and church groups.

She added, caregivers shouldn’t try to be perfect. Making the effort to help someone they love is what counts.

“There are a lot of wonderful caregivers out there,” Sloan said. “And, the perfect piece of it is is that the continue to drive to do the best that they can do for their loved one every day. That’s where the perfection comes in.”

Most places, including Eau Claire County, have an Aging and Disability Resource Center, which can provide more access to more tools to home caregivers.

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