Family Caregivers FAQ

As a new family caregiver, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn for answers. This family caregivers FAQ, includes 10 common questions and answers, that will help guide you on your caregiving journey.

  1. What is a family caregiver? A family caregiver is someone who provides unpaid care to a family member or friend who is unable to care for themselves due to age, illness, or disability. According to a report by AARP, 53 million Americans provide unpaid care to their loved ones. 24% of those caregivers are caring for more than one person.
  2. What are some common caregiver responsibilities? Responsibilities can include assisting with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Additional responsibilities might be managing medications, coordinating medical appointments, and providing emotional support.
  3. How can I balance caregiving with my other responsibilities? Balancing caregiving with other responsibilities can be challenging. Being organized is a must. It’s also important to prioritize your own self-care and seek out support from other family members, friends, and community resources. You may also want to consider respite care options to give yourself a break when needed.
  4. How can I communicate effectively with my loved one and their healthcare providers? Effective communication is key when it comes to caregiving. It’s important to listen to your loved one’s needs and concerns and communicate your own clearly and respectfully. When talking to healthcare providers, be sure to ask questions and take notes to ensure you understand the care plan.
  5. How can I handle my loved one’s difficult behaviors? Caring for someone with a chronic illness or disability can be challenging, and difficult behaviors may arise. It’s important to remain patient and understanding and seek out resources and support from healthcare providers and community organizations.
  6. How can I ensure my loved one’s safety at home? Ensuring your loved one’s safety at home may involve making modifications to the home environment, such as installing grab bars or removing tripping hazards (use this home safety checklist as a guide). It’s also important to ensure that your loved one is taking their medications as prescribed and receiving regular medical check-ups.
  7. How can I navigate the healthcare system? Navigating the healthcare system can be overwhelming. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your loved one’s insurance coverage and benefits, and ask questions when necessary. You may also want to consider working with a patient advocate or healthcare navigator to help guide you through the system.
  8. How can I manage my loved one’s medications? Managing medications can be a complex task. Be sure to keep a list of all medications your loved one is taking, including dosages and frequencies. Use pill organizers or other tools to help keep track of medication schedules, and notify healthcare providers of any changes in medications or dosages.
  9. How can I access community resources for support? There are a variety of community resources available to support caregivers, such as support groups, respite care programs, and meal delivery services. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging or Alzheimer’s Association chapter for more information.
  10. How can I take care of myself as a caregiver? Taking care of yourself as a caregiver is essential. Be sure to make time for your own self-care, such as exercise, relaxation, and social activities. Seek support from family members, friends, or a therapist, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Helpful Resources

Disclaimer: The content on this site is meant for general informational purposes and should not be considered professional advice. While we strive for accuracy, we recommend consulting experts for specific guidance. We are not responsible for any decisions made based on this information.

Liz Craven
Liz Craven

Liz Craven, co-publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide alongside her husband Wes, brings a blend of personal experience and heartfelt dedication to her work. Their path in eldercare started with a family story — caring for Wes' grandmother, Mabel, who faced Alzheimer's. This personal chapter not only highlighted the complexities of eldercare but also ignited their passion to support others in similar situations. Later, Liz and Wes filled the caregiver role three more times for their parents. Through the Sage Aging ElderCare Guide, Liz offers a mix of empathetic insight and practical advice, making eldercare more approachable and less daunting for families. Her commitment shines through in every piece of advice, aiming to ease the journey for others as they navigate the world of eldercare.

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