If you are new to the caregiving situation, the Internet can become an incredible resource for research, support, meeting other caregivers in similar situations. In truth, just about anything you can imagine can be found on the Internet. Millions of caregivers who are living with their loved ones have become isolated, especially when they are not living in or near a big city. Their friends and family usually do not understand what caregiving is about if they have not experienced it themselves, so they tend to back off from socializing with the caregiver. For caregivers, the Internet has become a lifeline to others who understand what you are going (or about to go) through.
If you come from a well-connected family, you may find incredible love and support, however, most caregivers come from dysfunctional families in some way and they are able to create new extended family through their interactions online. For many there is a great deal of hardship caused by other siblings and relatives who may want to direct or control you, but will not help out. Thus, what lies before you amongst thousands of web sites is hope, information and a wealth of opportunities to learn about diseases and illnesses, medications, insurance, legal information, new medical breakthroughs, inventive medical techniques and procedures and much more.
Online, you will meet all different types of family caregivers as well as professionals. While the type of roles may differ for example some are caring for a loved one 24/7 twenty-four hrs a day, seven days a week; some visit their loved ones in a facility or in their home; many have taken their loved ones in, and many are long distance caregivers. Diseases, situations and experiences all vary for each and everyone of you, however, there are many issues that all caregivers share and through the process of sharing, you can bond with many others who can understand what you are going through. Through sharing so many caregivers begin to forgive, grow and heal.
Important things to become aware of in your new role as a caregiver:
- Assessing your loved ones need for you as their primary caregiver for example health warning signs, ability for loved one to care for themselves, depression, can they function on their own in society, are they responsible, how is their overall attitude, and also their cognitive functions.
- Emotions: frustration, fatigue/ stress, resentment/anger, sadness/grief, guilt, isolation and satisfaction both for yourself and your carerecipient.
- Establish a network of professional care providers.
- Developing support plans so that you can share the care where it is possible.
- Assessing whether your loved one can remain at home either in their own home or with you or if they need to be in a facility or in an alternative living situation.
- Learn about housing options.
- Learn good communication skills
- Learn as much as you can about insurance, financial, and legal information. Create checklists that you will find in your research both on and offline, in your readings etc.
- Learn how to organize information in all the different areas you will be researching and allow yourself sufficient time to do the research.
- Setting goals for yourself as well as with your loved one.
- Learn how to make informed decisions for your loved one as well as yourself.
- Learn to set boundaries by making a list of the tasks you can do and those you are not capable of doing or just do not want to be responsible for.
- Learn how to avoid caregiver burnout.
- Learn how to remain balanced from within and have your needs met first so that you will be able to provide quality care for your loved one.
- Maintain your self worth, your self-respect, and your peace of mind.
Resources here at the Boomers International Site may be accessed by scrolling your cursor over the golden age section of the navigator bar above each page. Check under caring for parents, retirement, AARP Association, Health, and caregivers. Under caregiving, you will always find our most recent editorial, the archives, and more caregiver links. If you scroll over advice, you will find information on Medicare and Social Security. Under the Spirituality link, you will find information on online counseling, help line, and psychology to assist you.
At our affiliate site, Empowering Caregivers, you will also find a wealth of resources. By clicking any link to the Empowering Caregivers site, you will find informative caregiving articles, inspiration, the caregiver of the month spotlight, the caregiving site of the month spotlight, journal exercises to help you process issues that you will face as a caregiver, a free online newsletter which you may subscribe to, a healing circle, Forums/Message boards where you can communicate with other caregivers, a chat room with scheduled chats, suggested readings, a wealth of online and offline resources and much more.
Richest blessings on your journey.