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26984257 - senior asian mother chatting with adult daughter at home“How did this happen?” you may be asking yourself. One minute, you’re living a normal life, going to your job and enjoying your hobbies, and the next, you’re responsible for a whole other human being! It can be a heavy experience at first. But with the right guidance, you can survive – and even thrive – in your new role as a caregiver.

Learn to triage

In emergency rooms, healthcare workers have what they call “triage”: taking care of the most dire problems first. Thankfully, not every day as a caregiver will seem like an emergency! But “triaging” problems is a good way to address the most pressing problems of caregiving first. For example, your loved one needs help with housekeeping and medication management. Which do you address first? An unkempt house may be unpleasant, but getting the medication schedule right is usually the first order of business.

Ask for help

Think of being a caregiver like running a business. If you were a business owner, you wouldn’t try to do everything yourself, would you? Of course not! You’d ask for help in the form of employees. Well, when you’re a caregiver, you need to ask for help when you need it. It can either be in the form of paid help, such as a home health aide, or simply asking other family members to pitch in.