The responsibility of looking after a family member or friend following an injury or illness may seem daunting at first. There is much to consider as a Personal Assistant, from developing a care plan, to scheduling day-to-day chores and household tasks, to communicating with family members and/or the Designated Representative (DR). The temptation to take on many activities and juggle many balls may lead to exhaustion and even "burn-out". Here are five tips new caregivers may follow to reduce anxiety, minimize stress and stay energized while caring for a loved one.
1. Take advantage of CDPAP vacation benefits. No one can retain their sanity and remain effective by working 24/7, 365 days a year. If you are a full-time caregiver, make sure to schedule your own down-time daily, as well as during the week or on weekends.
2. Stay healthy, by maintaining your regular doctor and dental visits. While you may accrue paid sick time with CDPAP, retaining a clean bill of health may prevent your patient from catching colds or other contagious illnesses from you. Caring for yourself first may also alleviate any stress caused by your prolonged absence.
3. Don't keep it all to yourself. Joining a caregivers' support group, or talking to other family members could help ease your mind as well as provide new insights or ideas to help you cope with any challenges you're experiencing. Elite Choice customer service representatives are also available to provide ongoing support and resources for PA's.
4. Although you may be looking after a family member or friend, earning a steady income from CDPAP may provide a greater sense of professional fulfillment and long-term satisfaction. A convenient web portal provided by Elite Choice will help you keep track of your earnings, schedule, vacation and sick time.
5. Keep a journal. Sometimes it’s hard to notice subtle changes in your loved ones’ behavior, and you'll want to alert the DR or other family members to any significant changes that could impact the patient's care plan. A journal will also help you keep track on any ongoing challenges or issues that may be addressed with Elite Choice, your CDPAP Fiduciary Intermediary.