Tips for Caregivers

Helpful Advice from 2nd Family

A caregiver is anyone who provides basic assistance and care to an elderly, frail, disabled, or ill person.  It requires assisting in a variety of tasks including bathing, bill paying, shopping, and dressing.  Caregiver’s may be full or part-time and may or may not live with the loved one. Typically, a caregiver is a family member, neighbor, or friends who works without pay to help.

Cognitive Impairments (Dementia)

Caring for someone is plenty difficult, but it becomes more trying if that person develops cognitive impairments.  It can cause frustration to the caregiver if the person is unable to maintain a conversation or remember simple tasks.  People that develop moderate to severe dementia will usually need special care including round-the-clock attention and help with more important things.  They can exhibit a wide range of behavioral issues, which an untrained caregiver may be unable to manage.

caregiver tips

Getting Started

1. Find out about the person.  Get a picture of what they were like, what they are like now, what troubles they are having, etc.  This information will help you to care for them as well as assist any professional help you’ll need in the future.

tips for caregivers2. Get a medical exam.  See your doctor or qualified healthcare provider to get your loved one a thorough medical assessment.  It is important to determine whether or not they have dementia, whose symptoms can sometimes be explained by other ailments.  Additionally, if you are able to catch Alzheimer’s early, it may be able to be treated by new breakthrough drugs.

3. Get Educated.  Talk to doctors and health professionals, read books, surf the internet, and gather as much information as you can.  Knowledge helps build confidence and helps you cope with your situation.

4. Determine Their Needs. There are a plethora of questionnaires and tests available that can help to determine the level of assistance someone needs and their preferences for care.  These needs generally fall into the categories of Personal Care, Household Care, Health Care, Emotional Care, and Supervision.  Various agencies can provide this help for little or no money.

5. Establish a Care Plan. List things you are capable of doing, considering both time and ability.  Then list the things that you’ll need help doing and determine any “informal supports”, or friends, family members, and neighbors you can rely on.  Once this is done, outline the activities and be certain to set a time frame for them and be prepared for the short and long term.

6. Check Their Finances.  Evaluate their assets and liabilities by looking at stocks, income, social security, CDs, etc.  Determine what they can afford and how it will be managed.  You may need to add your name to a bank account.

document-428335_12807. Review Legal Documents. These documents can ensure that your loved one’s wishes and decisions will be followed through with and will allow someone to make important decisions on their behalf.  It may be necessary to seek legal help in this matter.

8. Safety-Proof Your Home. Make your home safe for your loved one by being aware of potential dangers, including fire hazards, loose rugs, poisons, sharp objects, things that cause falls, etc.  You may want to install a security or alert system as well.

9. Make Connections.  There are many other people in your community likely going through the same thing as you.  It can be very helpful to connect with these people in order to share your experiences and to find support.

10. Take Care of Yourself. This may be the most important yet overlooked step.  If you are not careful to take care of your own needs as well as your loved one’s, you will most likely face what is called caregiver burnout.  This can include symptoms of depression, chronic illness, heart disease, and even death.  Make sure you find a balance between taking care of yourself and meeting your loved one’s needs.  If you are unable to do both, it may be time to seek outside, professional care.

Signs You May Need Professional Help

Although you want to care personally for your loved one, if it has become overwhelming for you it is much better for you and them if you seek outside, professional care.  Some signs to look for include:

  1. Missing doses of medication.
  2. Difficulty getting them out of bed and mobile.
  3. Inability to move your loved one while they are in bed.
  4. They continuously develop wounds you are unable to care for.
  5. You are feeling angry, tired, or depressed.
  6. You are unable to complete your own important tasks.
  7. Your loved one has fallen many times.

It is important to know when you have reached your limit for care.  Don’t feel as though you have failed your loved one. You are only one person and no one can be expected to maintain that type of care for long.  The best thing is to call a professional like 2nd Family, who is well trained and has many employees to care for your loved one.

tips for caregivers

Choosing Long-Term Care

It is important to look for long-term care that meets certain requirements.  These include the following:

  • Approved by State agencies, accreditors, or qualified health professionals.
  • Has the services you need.
  • Trained and certified staff.
  • Services are within your budget.

Consider your options and whether they meet your family member’s needs.  Types of Care include the following:

  • Home Care – Caregivers that come to your home.  We perform a variety of tasks for as little as a few hours per week.
  • Community Services – Support services like adult day care, senior centers, and others.
  • Independent Living – Senior housing communities which provide housing and activities but no personal care.
  • Assisted Living – Senior living building which provides meals, emergency staff, and a small amount of personal care.
  • Nursing Homes – Provides specialized nursing care for the elderly. Can be run either privately or by the state.

WebMD Insights for Caregivers


2nd Family Makes a Difference in the Lives of Families Throughout Maryland. Click to View the Areas.

Carroll County: Finksburg (21048), Hampstead (21074), Manchester (21102), Marriottsville (21104), Reisterstown (21136), Upperco (21155), Westminster (21157,21158), Keymar (21757), Mount Airy (21771), New Windsor (21776), Sykesville (21784), Taneytown (21787), Union Bridge (21791), Woodbine (21797)

Baltimore County: Baldwin (21013), Cockeysville (21030), Hunt Valley (21031), Ellicott City (21043), Fork (21051), Freeland (21053), Glen Arm (21057), Glyndon (21071), Hampstead (21074), Hydes (21082), Joppa (21085), Kingsville (21087), Lutherville (21093, 21094), Timonium (21204), Manchester (21102), Marriottsville (21104), Monkton (21111), Owings Mills (21117), Parkton (21120), Perry Hall (21128), Phoenix (21131), Randallstown (21133), Reisterstown (21136), Sparks Glencoe (21152), Stevenson (21153), Upperco (21155), Upper Falls (21156), White Hall (21161), White Marsh (21162), Woodstock (21163), Towson (21204, 21286), Gwynn Oak (21207), Pikesville (21208), Baltimore (21206, 21209, 21210, 21212, 21215, 21224, 21229, 21235, 21239, 21241, 21250, 21252, 21282, 21284, 21285), Sparrows Point (21219), Middle River (21220), Essex (21221),Dundalk (21222), Halethorpe (21227), Catonsville (21228), Parkville (21234), Nottingham (21236), Rosedale (21237), Windsor Mill (21244), Boring (21020), Brooklandville (21022), Butler (21023), Chase (21027), Fort Howard (21052), Hunt Valley (21065), Long Green (21092), Maryland Line (21105), Riderwood (21139)

Baltimore City: Baltimore (21201, 21202, 21205, 21211, 21214, 21216, 21218, 21231, 21251, 21287, 21203, 21233, 21263, 21264, 21265, 21270, 21273, 21274, 21275, 21278, 21279, 21280, 21281, 21283, 21288, 21290, 21297, 21298), Raspeburg (21206), Gwynn Oak (21207), Pikesville (21208), Mt Washington (21209), Roland Park (21210), Govans (21212), Clifton (21213), Arlington (21215), Druid (21217), Dundalk (21222), Franklin (21223), Highlandtown (21224), Brooklyn (21225), Curtis Bay (21226), Halethorpe (21227), Catonsville (21228), Carroll (21229), Morrell Park (21230), Parkville (21234), Nottingham (21236), Rosedale (21237), Northwood (21239)

Howard County: Annapolis Junction (20701), Laurel (20723), Fulton (20759), Savage (20763), Highland (20777), Jessup (20794), Brookeville (20833), Clarksville (21029), Dayton (21036), Ellicott City (21042, 21043, 21041), Columbia (21044, 21045, 21046), Elkridge (21075), Hanover (21076), Marriottsville (21104), Woodstock (21163), Cooksville (21723), Glenelg (21737), Glenwood (21738), Mount Airy (21771), Sykesville (21784), West Friendship (21794), Woodbine (21797), Simpsonville (21150), Lisbon (21765

Montgomery County: Laurel (20707), Highland (20777), Glen Echo (20812), Bethesda (20814, 20816, 20817, 20889, 20892, 20894, 20813, 20824, 20827), Chevy Chase (20815, 20825), Cabin John (20818), Olney (20832, 20830), Brookeville (20833), Barnesville (20838), Beallsville (20839), Boyds (20841), Dickerson (20842), Rockville (20850, 20851, 20852, 20853, 20847, 20848, 20849) Potomac (20854, 20859), Derwood (20855), Sandy Spring (20860), Ashton (20861), Brinklow (20862), Burtonsville (20866), Spencerville (20868), Clarksburg (20871), Damascus (20872), Germantown (20874, 20876, 20875), Gaithersburg (20877, 20878, 20879, 20882, 20899, 20884, 20885, 20898), Montgomery Village (20886), Kensington (20895, 20891), Silver Spring (20901, 20902, 20903, 20904, 20905, 20906, 20910, 20907, 20908, 20911, 20914, 20915, 20916), Takoma Park (20912, 20913), Mount Airy (21771), Woodbine (21797), Washington (20088), Hyattsville (20787), Washington Grove (20880), Garrett Park (20896)

Frederick County: Frederick (21701, 21702, 21703), Woodsboro (21798), New Market (21774), Walkersville (21793) Monrovia (21770), Clarksburg (20871), Ijamsville (21754)

If you don't see your area listed, please contact us as our service area is continually growing.

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