· Caregiving is a role, relationship and a job. It can be very rewarding but can also be complicated, frustrating and stressful

Being very organized is very helpful
If you are caring for your parents, talk to your spouse as caregiving can encroach on your together time
Discuss with and involve your children. Listen to their concerns
Take care of your own healthcare needs

· Good communication, discussion and shared decision-making make a huge difference

Have a candid conversation with your parents or your spouse
Encourage them to be honest about their feelings and concerns

· Delaying or postponing long term and in-patient care is money saving in the long run

Adult day care may be a very viable option for social interaction and physical activity
Promising to never consider a nursing home as an option can backfire if the situation becomes unmanageable later down the road
Make the environment as safe as possible to prevent falls and injuries as falls are the number one reason for eventual placement in a care facility
Visit some facilities ahead of time so if a crisis occurs you are aware of your options

· Communication, collaboration and coordination are key to a successful caregiving partnership

Set your priorities and discuss your parent’s priorities
Be as inclusive as possible. Schedule a family meeting
Keep a large calendar in full view
Coordinate with the medical people treating your parent or spouse
Make sure you or a dependable representative accompanies your parent to each doctor’s visit

· A change in condition and change of setting can be very stressful and even traumatic

Anticipate a respite option before you need it
Be open to additional in-home assistance before it is needed
Understand that change will happen

· Advocacy for the caregiving situation is a fundamental goal for the cared for and the caregiver

Build a support network
Find someone you can confide in
Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks, jobs or care
Plan a little private alone time for yourself each day
Schedule yourself for some private active time three to four times a week
Make time to remain social and not isolated
Ensure a restful night of sleep
Keep humor in your world as it is healthier all around