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How to Become a Family Caregiver

How to beocme a family caregiver text over image of adult woman with elderly parent

Posted on October 13, 2021 by Kyle Walton

I want to keep my loved one’s healthcare in the family. What should I do?

As our loved ones age, it can be especially challenging to be along for the ride, but it can be even more difficult if you are your loved one’s primary source of care. Nevertheless, many people across the nation, including sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, still prefer to take matters into their own hands when it comes to the care of an aging loved one.

A family caregiver is defined as anyone who provides a relative in need of extra help in carrying out their personal activities. This can include grocery shopping, driving to and from appointments, picking up prescriptions, housekeeping and other custodial care, and assistance with personal hygiene.

Becoming a family caregiver can be a very rewarding experience. Not only does it give you the opportunity to develop a closer relationship and bond with your loved one, it also gives you the ability to ensure your loved one’s care is up to your personal standard.

Usually, people with a lot of patience and other nurturing qualities make the best family caregivers, and they usually find more enjoyment in the process. If this sounds like you, read on to learn more about how to become a family caregiver.

How do I become a caregiver for a parent or family member?

If you are thinking about becoming a family caregiver for your loved one, you are usually not required to possess any specific training simply to attend to daily needs. That said, many people find it beneficial to have at least some understanding of the best ways to work with patients and their families in a professional setting. Keep in mind that providing any type of official medical assistance usually requires college training or a nursing certification.

If you are interested in becoming a caregiver for a parent or family member, you can do so by volunteering on your own or through an organization to officially become the caregiver of a family member or a parent.

Can I become a paid family caregiver?

You may be surprised to learn that in some cases, it is possible to receive financial compensation for being the caregiver of a family member. That said, family caregivers should understand their options for financial assistance and compensation. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • If you or your loved one requires financial assistance related to caregiving, you can determine your eligibility through Medicaid’s Self-Directed Services, Veterans Aid, or long-term care insurance.
  • You may also be able to opt into a home or community-based service program that will provide additional assistance.
  • You may be able to join a formal caregiver agency as an employee, where you can request your loved one as a client and receive a monthly salary.

What are some useful tips to remember when caring for a family member at home?

Becoming a caregiver can be extremely challenging. Since the primary responsibilities of a family caregiver will be offering help to the elderly who live at home, it is important to develop good communication skills. This way, you can be sure you are always treating your loved ones with dignity and respect.

Because it can be very physically and emotionally demanding, caring for a senior can easily lead to burnout. In these cases, requesting compensation can help. There are many things to keep in mind and efforts to make when serving as a caregiver, including:

  • Checking your eligibility for paid leave. If you provide care to a loved one through a formal agency. You may qualify for paid leave, which can make it easier to manage caregiver burnout.
  • Investigating your loved one’s Medicare health insurance coverage. Often, family caregivers and Medicare go hand-in-hand. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that your relative’s insurance plan will sometimes provide caregiver compensation.
  • Taking care of yourself. Unfortunately, long-term caregivers are often at a higher risk of depression and a lack of self-care. Remember that in order to effectively care for someone close to you, you must care for yourself first. This means aiming for seven to eight hours of sleep per night, eating healthy, and getting regular exercise. If you feel you may be experiencing depression as a result of caregiver burnout, try reaching out to a local support group.

About the Author

Kyle Walton

Kyle is a professional writer with several years of experience helping to inform the public on many diverse topics and industries, including healthcare. He is a Kutztown University graduate, Class of 2017.

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