5 Steps to Take When Becoming a First Time Caregiver– Carex icon
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Overcoming Shock: Five Steps to Take When Becoming a First Time Caregiver



There is usually a moment when a person realizes they want to spend a good portion of their life helping people. Early on in my adulthood, I began to realize my love for children and teaching them. From there, I pursued a career in education. This understanding happens for many individuals who take on a professional role that revolves around serving others.

When pursuing a compassion-led profession such as caregiving, many fail to realize the load of responsibility associated with caring for others. This holds true, especially for occupations like police officers, firefighters, educators, and healthcare workers.

Healthcare workers and caregivers are responsible for the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of their patients. In extreme cases, they are even responsible for the livelihood of these people.

Doing what seems to be your life purpose is fulfilling, and there are other benefits too. Other people recognize the effort of people like caregivers and healthcare workers. Car insurance costs for healthcare workers can even be discounted because companies acknowledge their dedication and hard work.

Despite all the benefits and fulfillment of caregiving, you can still feel shocked and overwhelmed throughout your compassionate career. A lot of people experience shock at the beginning of becoming a caregiver.

To combat that shock, here are some tips you can follow to follow as a first-time caregiver.

Support team

1. Establish a Support System

Having the responsibility to care for someone else’s health and well-being is a massive burden for anyone to carry. This is why you need a team to work with. If you have a team to trade-off with or other people to assign different tasks to, you do not have to worry about so much responsibility yourself. When there is a team, a single caregiver is less likely to experience caregiver burnout. This ultimately leads to better support for the patient.

Aside from having help with your work, you may also need support outside of work. As stated earlier, caring for someone is a huge weight to carry. Even if you have help in your workplace, it can still be mentally draining caring for someone who is deathly ill. When you go home, it can be helpful to have someone look out for you.

Having someone to care for you does not necessarily mean they will physically care for you. It can mean that they listen to you, help you keep your home in order, or even having someone to run you a relaxing bath right when you get home can make a world of difference in your mental state. 

Educate yourself

2. Take Time to Educate Yourself

Most states require that you receive some form of certification before being in control of someone’s well-being. However, if your state does not, then you should take the initiative to educate yourself still. If you take care of someone sick or older in age, you may face situations that require you to be knowledgeable in medical cases. With education, you will also be able to anticipate and prepare for the future so you can avoid any negative medical situations occurring.

You also want to be informed of any medications and treatments that your patient needs. The worst scenario would be for you to distribute medication incorrectly or to treat a patient improperly because you did not take the time to educate yourself. This could lead to your patient becoming seriously ill and you losing work and credibility. 

Make an effort to be organized

3. Make an Effort to Be Organized

As a caregiver for the first time, you will realize that you are responsible for keeping up with an overwhelming amount of details. To keep up with this, you should use either one big organizer or planner for different types of information. You will be responsible for medical appointments, medical history, medication distribution, family members, meal planning, phone numbers, and much more.

If physically writing and keeping track of all of this is not helpful for you, you can use apps and other programs specifically created for such reasons. A good number of caregivers opt-in for programs and apps because it makes all of the information more accessible.

You may need to use more than one app, depending on the type and amount of information you control.

4. Adjust to Your Patient and Help Them Adjust

Not only are you new to this, but your patient is also new to you. Just as you may be nervous and overwhelmed, your patient may be too. It is not easy for a person to find peace with losing their independence. So they may grow thick-headed and stubborn when they are introduced to a new caregiver. All of the information you are in control of is private and sensitive for your patient, and not everyone is trusting or trustworthy.

You can help ease the adjustment to one another by involving your patient in conversations and decisions about finances, health, and living situations. If there are impairments that prevent them from accurately communicating with you, it may be beneficial to at least have these conversations around them. That way, they are clear on what is going to be happening daily. Different types of caregiver guides can help you create adjustments for both you and your patient. 

5. Don't Neglect Self-Care

For people with big hearts, you may feel guilty about prioritizing time for yourself. Taking care of yourself should be one of your first priorities. If you have ever flown in a plane, you have heard the flight attendant inform passengers to place ventilation masks on themselves first before assisting others in an emergency. They advise this because it is close to impossible to help someone else if you cannot breathe yourself.

That same principle applies to life. Helping other people is time-consuming, and you will not naturally know how and what they need. However, you do know exactly what you need and how you need it, so taking care of yourself is not so time-consuming. You cannot be a great caregiver if you grow emotionally, mentally, and physically unfit

About the Author

Imani Francies writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media and specializes in various forms of media marketing.

About Carex Health Brands

Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.

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