Dr. Luigi Franciosi Explains What You Should Know About Caregiving
Stepping forward to care for a loved one while they undergo a health concern or illness is a noble thing to do. There are, however, many challenges and stresses that caregivers face and sometimes there can be a lack of awareness and support for what caregivers go through.
Dr. Luigi Franciosi of Coquitlam, British Columbia, often works alongside caregivers. Caregiving is a difficult job, and most people become caregivers slowly over time. If you’ve begun taking care of a friend or family member, here are Dr. Franciosi’s tips to help make your life a little easier.
Know All Necessary Details
In the event of an emergency, you may need to provide important information while your loved one is incapacitated.
These details include the individual’s medical services plan (MSP) number, social insurance number, blood type, veteran status (if applicable), driver’s license number, and any allergies. If it helps to write this information down, be sure to keep it handy and safe in your wallet or purse.
Dr. Luigi Franciosi says that you should memorize any major medical histories for the person you’re taking care of, such as major surgeries, heart conditions, etc.
Communicate Clearly and Frequently
Even though the person that you are taking care of might be stubborn or losing some of their cognitive abilities, their preferences need to be taken into consideration. You should have many transparent conversations about what activities they want to manage themselves and which ones they feel nervous performing on their own.
If you’re preparing meals and snacks, make sure you know what they like to eat and drink, as well as when they like to take their meals. Also, try to learn about their favorite shows, music, and reading materials so that you can make their life more comfortable.
Sometimes, you are taking care of someone that is temporarily in need of extra care, says Dr. Luigi Franciosi. If that is the case, find out from the person and their physician what their recovery will look like and how you can best assist them in reaching their goals.
Keep the Home Safe and Clean
Usually, the person in need of caregiving has difficulty moving about the house. If they have a room on the second floor of a two-story house, consider moving them downstairs near a bathroom so that they can move about easier in their home.
If there are any dangerous objects about, such as sharp edges, obstacles, or unsecured furniture pieces, consider removing them or making them safer. Think about all the ways that the person you’re caring for could injure themselves when you are away.
Caregivers often suffer from extreme exhaustion or depression, says Dr. Luigi Franciosi. If you become burnt out or ill, you will no longer be able to care for your loved one.
Make sure that you have a few friends and family you can call on to share the load, even if only for a day off each week. Do everything in your power to get adequate rest and regular meals.
Final Thoughts from Dr. Luigi Franciosi
As a final thought, make sure you’ve identified when the person you’re caring for requires more expert care than what you can provide. Put a plan in place for when you need to delegate caregiving to a nursing home, hospice nurse, etc. You are truly their biggest advocate to get the best care possible.
Dr. Luigi Franciosi is an Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology at The University of British Columbia and owner of Franciosi Consulting Ltd. As a PhD graduate of UBC, Luigi has over two decades of experience in clinical research, drug development, operations and project management as well as a decade of experience in seniors care industry.