After assuming the role of a caregiver, what comes next?
There are a lot of unanswered questions one may have when they assume the role of a caregiver.
So how can caregivers get prepared for the journey ahead?
One of the first, and arguably most important, things you need to do as a caregiver is find out what steps you need to take in order to become that point of contact between your loved one and their doctors.
"Sometimes a caregiver is going to have a little bit different assessment of what is going on than if the patient is just talking to their physician or to the medical team members," says Sherri Solomon, Executive Director of Trinity Health at Home, East Region.
This means making sure, with a Durable Medical Power of Attorney, and the appropriate release of information are all in place so the caregiver can speak to the physicians.
As a caregiver, another role you assume is being responsible for the type of social interaction your loved one receives.
"You really become their social connection a lot, and their emotional support, more than you have ever been," says Solomon.
Sometimes, you may be the only form of social interaction they receive.
It is difficult to know exactly how long you may be a caregiver.
That is why Solomon stresses the importance of staying connected to those around you.
"To the physician community, to other caregivers, a support group if you can have one, to your family and friends, to ask for help because you can't really do it alone," says Solomon. "You need to be connected."