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Random Tips From Other Caregivers

As a family caregiver, you may find yourself facing a host of new responsibilities, many of which are unfamiliar or intimidating. At times, you may feel overwhelmed and alone. But despite its challenges, caregiving can also be rewarding. And there are a lot of things you can do to make the caregiving process easier for both you and your loved one. The following is a selection of random tips and insights from other caregivers.


“Invite people over and get out of the house every day. I know getting an elderly person ready and out the door is a big challenge, but your life is important too and you can't let everything that makes you happy go the wayside. Your sanity and feeling of well-being is important too. ” — Cheryl P

“Apply Child-proof devices over the door knob for people that wander, or try to leave the house in a panic. Also, for anyone with dementia of any kind, register with Alzheimer's association for their Safe Return bracelet that helps to get the patient home when they have wandered off. This will relieve a source of anxiety for the caregivers. ” — Alice A

“It's been helpful for me to keep a journal. I know this may not be practical for some, but I do it on the computer. This exercise of physically typing the symptoms/emotions/frustrations, etc. has released some of the tension, and helps when I look back. Besides the not-so-pleasant things, I try to also include a humorous note, or inspirational, or even a prayer.” — Carole

“Take the knobs off the stove so that your loved one does not start to cook and then walk away and forget about it. ” — Lynn F.

“Modify the bathroom and most used entrance to the home as soon as possible after diagnosis. This will allow your loved one to stay at home longer.” — Pat S.

“Maybe stop by the local police department with an Alzheimer person so that not only will that person know of them but the police department will then be familiar with them. Putting the business card in their pocket was a great idea. Grandmother has in her purse an identification printout in it listing her meds, allergies and collective phone numbers.” — Lori P

“Realize that balancing acceptance, along with desperation (over wanting to make your loved one's situation better), and guilt (over not somehow being able to do more) is very difficult. Searching for that balance is one of the many jobs of the loving care giver.” — Mary

“Find and use appropriate technologies. Get your parents on the same video conferencing system you use. That way you can use the same product to talk to your own kids and grandkids that you use to talk to your parents. That's especially important since these products don't all talk to each other.” — Wayne C.

“Don't forget the Do not Resuscitate form filled by your the PCP. Very important. ” — Irene

“I've been working as an OT with seniors with dementia for 10 years and please allow them to be as independent and active mentally and physically as possible. It can slow the process down along with the meds.” — Scott





“I stuck a business card with my contact information on it in my mother's cell phone case so if her Alzheimer's causes her to get lost (or if she loses her cellphone), the card can be found and I can be reached. Hope this helps someone else.” — Eileen

“There's no crystal ball... do your best, with loving intentions. Reach out; talk with those who've been there," learn about programs and options, plan ahead, but be flexible as needs change. Try to keep in mind the short/long term bigger picture, health, safety and quality of life- for yourself as well as your loved one. It's a marathon, not a sprint, pace yourself, have a support system of family, friends, medical and professionals. Share the load, take breaks without guilt, use humor, don't overlook the small gifts along the way.” — CJ

“ I find that attending aerobic class a few days a week really helps me relax. I also enjoy joking with other members in the class. We have fun and I sometimes really need the break.” — Cheryl

“ Having a good relationship with my mother’s doctor has been very helpful. Communication is key to ensuring mom gets what she needs.” — Margaret

“ Joining a support group has really been a life saver. I have learned so much from attending meetings and it is nice to know I am not alone. I have formed some lasting friendships with people who understand my need to cry.” — Delores

“Neighbors can be life savers! Tell trusted neighbors when your loved one is alone so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.”  — Cassy

“Don’t feel guilty if you need a break. Finding time for you is so so important.”  — Andrew

“Watch out for signs of depression, and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.”  — National Family Caregivers Association

“Find out what services are available in your community through government, public, and private organizations.”  — Anonymous

“Try establishing a routine and keeping to a set schedule for as much as possible.”  — Mildred