Plan Your Caregiving for 2022
Are you a seasoned family caregiver? Or have you just started providing care for the very first time?
Either way, the new year presents an opportunity to reevaluate and adjust your current care plan or develop a care plan for the very first time.
We’ve curated some helpful resources and highlighted some of the most important things to consider during the course of the year.
By using this outline as a guide, you can feel confident your care recipient has everything they need to live a happy, healthy, and vibrant life.
A Five-Step Process for Developing Your Caregiving Plan
Now that you know how to access resources and make time for self-care, let’s take a closer look at some considerations you’ll need to make when drafting a yearly care plan. We’ve broken the process down into five steps:
Step one - Determine the type and level of care your loved one needs.
To do that, ask yourself questions like: What’s their health status? Do they take medication? If so, what types, and is there a set schedule? Is your care recipient relatively mobile and independent or do they use a wheelchair and require assistance? If possible, involve your loved one in the process, so they feel heard and like a member of the team.
Step two - Establish a caregiving team.
Caregiving isn’t an individual effort. You need a support system to prevent overwhelm. Try splitting up responsibilities so no one feels the weight of the world on their shoulders. For example, someone can provide transportation, someone else can manage the finances, and someone else can assist with daily activities like bathing or getting dressed. By identifying who does what, you can relieve stress and ensure your care recipient has everything they need.
Step three - Collect the necessary supplies.
Many children and seniors who require care also have unique medical needs. To help your loved one remain healthy and happy, it’s important they have access to supplies like mobility devices, medication, nutritional supplements, and incontinence products.
Step four - Be aware of seasonal changes.
Caregiving is like anything else in that different seasons present different challenges. We discuss this topic in greater depth below.
Step five - Never stop learning.
Over time, your care recipient may experience more serious challenges, like mobility issues or a decline in cognitive function. Reading about your loved one’s diagnosis can help you prepare for what’s to come.
A Caregiving Plan for 2022 - Things to Consider Each Month
There’s a lot to think about as a caregiver. Here are some things to consider each month (including links to helpful resources):
The start of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate your caregiving plan. If you’ve been providing care for a while, think about what works and what doesn’t. For example, are there areas that could be improved upon? What are some challenges you face on a daily or weekly basis? If it helps, write everything down.
If you’re just starting your caregiving journey, check out our guide on How to Become a Caregiver for a Family Member.
February is American Heart Month and the perfect time to reevaluate your caregiver’s first aid kit. Make sure yours includes all the items your care recipient needs, like bandages, antibiotic ointment, a thermometer, and over-the-counter pain medication.
March marks the end of winter, so consider doing some spring cleaning. That’s particularly true if you provide care for someone who’s elderly or experiencing mobility issues. Remove clutter from hallways and stairwells, make sure your home is adequately lit, and keep trip hazards like cords and toys off the floor.
April is Stress Awareness Month. Try and set aside some time for rest and relaxation. With the temperatures rising and the days getting longer, it’s also the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Take your care recipient to the park, start planting your garden, or sit on the patio and listen to the birds sing.
When was the last time your care recipient visited the doctor? If they’re living with one or more chronic conditions, routine checkups are probably a part of your routine. But if your loved one is relatively mobile and independent, it may have been a while. If it’s been more than a year since your loved one’s last physical, schedule one now. A comprehensive exam, including lab work and preventive screenings, can catch potentially serious conditions early on.
June marks the beginning of summer, when many people go on vacation. If you care for someone who has mobility issues, check out our comprehensive guide to travel. It covers everything you need to know, including how to research the wheelchair accessibility of your destination, packing tips, safety recommendations, and more. One last thing –– here are some suggestions for celebrating Father’s Day.
Planning a trip to the beach or pool? Check out this guide for managing incontinence in warm weather. Adult swim diapers and other similar products are comfortable, discreet, and affordable, making it easy to confidently spend time in the water.
Activities like camping, hiking, and fishing are lots of fun, but they can present risks for elderly people and individuals who are immunocompromised. Before heading out on your next adventure, pack everything you need to keep your loved one safe, including sun screen, a first-aid kit, and a portable generator.
September begins the transition to fall. Check out this list of fun fall activities to do with your care recipient.
September is also World Alzheimer’s Month. If your loved one experiences impaired memory, behavioral changes, or other related symptoms, get them in for a dementia screening. Early diagnosis and treatment can slow the diseases’ progression.
In many parts of the country, October is when the first snow falls. At the beginning of the month, take time to winterize your home. Keep the driveway and sidewalks clear of snow and ice, set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature, and dress your care recipient in layers to ensure their warmth.
November is Fraud Prevention Month. Unfortunately, seniors often fall victim to scammers. These tips can protect your loved one and provide peace of mind.
As the year closes out, it’s also worth reviewing your current health coverage. Investing in an HSA or FSA might save you money. Here’s a helpful breakdown from Nerdwallet.
When December rolls around, it’s time to reevaluate and adjust your caregiving plan accordingly. Write down everything you learned during the course of the year, including what worked and what didn’t.
Don’t rush through the process or downplay your accomplishments. Caretaking is hard work. If you’re able, take a day off and do something special. You’ve earned it.
Our Ultimate List of Resources for Caregivers
The internet is an amazing tool for new and experienced caregivers alike, but if you don’t know where to look, it can be difficult finding the information you need. To save you time (and hassle) we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite resources, including technology, products, and caregiving communities.
There are various apps and wearable devices that can make daily responsibilities like keeping track of appointments or administering medication easy. Some of our favorites include:
Ianacare - Many caregivers feel isolated and overwhelmed. Ianacare tackles these issues head on. Specifically, the app provides practical and emotional support for caregivers by allowing users to coordinate care, ask for help, and access personalized resources. Fun fact –– Iana is an acronym for “I am not alone.”
CaringBridge - CaringBridge is a web-based platform that makes it easy for caregivers to share health updates. It’s an effective way to keep friends and family members informed, even if they live in other states or countries.
Lotsa Helping Hands - Lotsa Helping Hands is an app and web-based platform that allows users to create their own caregiving community. Family members and friends can make announcements, send well-wishes, and coordinate care using the program’s digital calendar.
AirTag Case by WAIRCO - If you provide care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, wearable devices like Apple AirTags can provide peace of mind. This patent pending snap case by WAIRCO makes it easy to attach an AirTag to a purse, pair of pants, shirt, or another garment.
Electronic Caregiver - The Electronic Caregiver is a cutting-edge system that features a pocket smart health device, an emergency pendant, and one-touch telehealth and interactive care plan support. It can assist with medication reminders, medical emergencies, and more.
Vital Caregiving Products.
No two caregiving routines are exactly alike, so it’s important your loved one has the products they need to thrive. Here at Carewell, we’ve curated thousands of items, including mobility devices, incontinence products, and over-the-counter medications from renowned brands. Each product category is listed below. Click the provided link to browse each section of the website:
Collections (i.e. Bariatric care, protective equipment, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, etc.)
To ensure easy access to the products you need, we offer autoship. Through the autoship program, you can turn any purchase into a recurring order and have everything shipped right to your door on a monthly basis.
Communities for Caregivers.
Caregiving is physically and emotionally exhausting, but it’s important to know you aren’t alone. There are various communities, both in-person and online, that provide forums to connect, reflect, share stories, and provide support. Here are a few of our recommendations:
The Caregiver Space. The Caregiver Space is an online community founded by caregivers for caregivers. It provides various resources, including private social media groups, caregiving articles, personal stories, and information about programs in the U.S. and Canada that provide financial assistance to caregivers.
The National Association for Continence - Message Boards. If you provide care for someone with bladder or bowel incontinence, the NAFC message boards are an excellent resource, whether you need to vent, ask questions, or get advice.
Aging Care - Caregiver Forum. The caregiver forum on Aging Care is a great place to ask questions, get emotional support, or learn new tips and tricks. The community is very active, so new posts occur almost daily.
Reddit forums for caregivers. Reddit forums like caregiving, caregiversupport, and agingparents provide a place to enhance your skills and knowledge. Like the other communities on this list, you can ask questions, get support, or share tips and insights that might help others.
The Importance of Self Care.
To provide high-quality care to someone else, you need to feel good physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Achieving this type of balance is difficult for everyone, but it can be especially so for new caregivers who are just starting out.
Make time each day to do something you enjoy. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and build a support network. These things can prevent exhaustion and help you feel your best.
Caregiving Social Media Ambassadors
Carewell partners with social media ambassadors who have personal stories and connections with caregiving. Check them out for tips, education, or some lighter content and smiles for your day.
Clelia Pergola: Website
Carrie Aalberts, of The Dementia Darling: Instagram
Kris + Mary from Life With Grams: Instagram
Erica Steiner of BadassCaregiver: TikTok
Teepa Snow: TikTok
Kris + Mary from Life With Grams: Instagram
Fading Memories Podcast: Instagram
Leeza’s Care Connection: Instagram
Dementia Careblazers: Instagram
Download the free Guide.
It has a calendar with reminders and resources for each month. Download Now.
We hope this guide helps you plan your caregiving calendar for the year ahead.
If you have any questions while shopping for your care recipient, please reach out to our friendly Care Specialists by calling (855) 855-1666 or sending an email to email@example.com. We’re here to help!
Chad Birt is a freelance B2B and B2C medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.