As a caregiver, you can make a real difference in the life of someone you’re caring for. You can help your friend or family member learn more about his or her condition.
Here are some tips on how to care for a friend or family member.
Knowing what to share
How does your friend or family member feel about sharing personal information with you? Did you establish boundaries with each other? Have you discussed how your friend or loved one would like your help? Maybe it’s time to learn a little more about how both of you feel.
Have an open conversation
Sometimes people find it hard to talk about their feelings. Ask the person you're caring for what you can share with others about his or her condition.
- Think before you go public
Does the situation at hand really call for you to make what may be a private matter public? When in doubt, hold off. Ask the person you’re caring for how he or she feels. That way, you may be able to avoid any misunderstandings.
- Take a back seat if possible
Try to let the person you're caring for handle things on his or her own. If he or she asks for your help, give your support. Respect for boundaries can go a long way in making a good working relationship between the two of you.
What is the most considerate way to step in and help the person you care for? Are there more thoughtful ways for you to lend a hand? Don't assume you know. What you think the person you are caring for may need and what he or she actually needs may be very different things.
Make it a joint effort
Join your friend or family member in his or her efforts to live a healthier lifestyle. Offer to start an exercise program with him or her. Or adopt better eating habits. Let the person you are caring for know he or she is not in this alone.
Be generous with encouragement
Don't demand perfection. People are rarely perfect. Offer your help and support.