6 Simple Rules for Caregivers
Brain and spinal cord injuries don’t just affect the survivor. They also affect the family of the survivor. In many cases, it is up to family members to take care of the physical, emotional, economic, and social needs of the survivor. While caretaking can be extremely rewarding, it can also be frustrating, overwhelming, and lonely. The following six rules are designed to help the caretaker cope.
Rule One: Take Care of Yourself
Caretakers should attend to their own health and wellness by eating well, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep. Tired, fatigued, or sick caretakers won’t be able to make good decisions or handle frustrating times.
Rule Two: Connect with Other Caregivers
Quite frequently caregivers feel alone. Connecting with others in the same situation will allow caretakers to share wisdom and strength, and will make them feel less isolated and lonely.
Rule Three: Educate Yourself
Knowledge is power! Knowing as much as possible about the survivor’s condition and how it will affect their emotions, physical being, and behavior will help the caretaker prepare for the demand he or she will face.
Rule Four: Get Help.
Caregivers should enlist the help of other family members so that they take breaks and enjoy regular down time. If regular family members or close friends are not able to fill in, respite care is another option.
Rule Five: Be an Advocate
The caregiver should speak out on the survivor’s behalf and should also ask any necessary questions. The caretaker should also be prepared to help navigate legal and financial issues, as well as help make decisions regarding rehabilitative or nursing care.
Rule Six: Get Tech Savvy
The caregiver should familiarize himself or herself with adaptive equipment, technology, tools, homecare products, and services related to brain and spinal cord injury. As these things help the survivor become more independent, the caretaker will also benefit.