Educating Yourself: Family Caregiving and the Power of Information

Educating Yourself: Family Caregiving and the Power of Information

Educating Yourself: Family Caregiving and the Power of Information

As a caregiver, you face a lot of unknowns. You may be wondering, “How can I do this?”, “How will I afford this?”, “What does this medical information mean?”, and so on. In this blog, we want to talk about the power of information and knowledge, as well as the power of asking for help. Knowing what to do is powerful, but it is not the complete story. The other half of knowing is to know where to find information. Below, we share several things all caregivers should consider learning, as well as tips on how to find and retrieve information that can help you and your loved one.

The difficult part of this process is to know where to find reliable information.[1] As convenient as the internet can be at providing a lot of great information, there are many sites that are just inaccurate and lead people in the wrong directions. To balance this problem, we suggest you always get directed to information by a professional, like a doctor, pharmacist, or therapist. These resources can lead you to accurate information so you do not need to waste time trying to find answers when someone already knows where to find them.

What to Consider

Know Your Loved One’s Needs: One of the most important things you can do is to identify and evaluate your loved one’s needs.[2] Some people can do this by accompanying their loved one to their doctor and learning more about their condition. You may be able to do this by speaking with your loved one or paying attention to the kinds of changes that have gone on in their life since they started needing care. One helpful strategy is to sit down and create a list of the important things you think your loved one needs, like help managing their finances, transportation, and the like.

Utilize Resources to Gain Information: If you have the chance, accompany your loved one to their doctor’s appointments and ask their doctor where you can find reliable information about their condition. Knowing about your loved one’s symptoms and challenges can help you prepare and know what to expect as a caregiver. The important thing is that you get reliable and accurate information.

Know How to Identify Reliable Information: Most times, you will have to do internet searches, make phone calls, or read books on your own, without any guidance. In this case, the questions become: How do I know if this information is reliable? Can I trust this source? When reading information on the internet, always check to see who is writing this paper and if they listed their name. If they have the credentials, expertise, and background to speak on a subject, then it may be a good source. The other thing to consider is the presentation of the information. Is it heavily opinionated and biased? Does the source cite work related to the topic, like academic articles? These are all things to look out for when searching for information on the web. For every great and informative article on the internet, there are a plethora of misleading and effectively useless posts out there. Use your judgment, and be critical of the information you find.

If you have any other questions, then please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.

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