Caring Alone – 10 Strategies for the Solo Family Caregiver


In this blog, Elizabeth Miller shines a light on Solo Family Caregivers with10 helpful strategies.
"I have yet to meet a family caregiver who was successful at caregiving alone. I want to highlight the importance of teamwork in caregiving." Elizabeth Miller

Sharing the Care with My Siblings

Growing up, my family was a bustling bunch known as The Beighey Bunch – three boys and three girls. Our household was always buzzing with activity, from school events to grocery trips with multiple shopping carts. We each had roles, with the girls helping inside the house while the boys tackled the yard work.

As we grew older, life took us in different directions. Still, one constant remained: my older brother, Tom, who was born with a developmental disability and primarily lived with my parents.

When our parents’ health started to decline, we knew we had to band together to navigate the challenges of caregiving. While the responsibilities weren’t always evenly distributed among us siblings, having each other’s support was invaluable.

How to Reinforce Your Care Team

Let’s consider what it might be like for a solo caregiver. Many caregivers don’t have the luxury of siblings to lean on, making the journey even more challenging. The weight of decision-making and caregiving falls solely on their shoulders, leading to increased stress and anxiety.

That’s why I want to emphasize the importance of building a caregiving team, whether you have siblings or not. Here are ten strategies to help solo caregivers assemble their support network:

  1. Reach beyond immediate family: Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of friends, extended family members, or even neighbors who may be willing to lend a hand. Many responsibilities can be addressed by those who live at a long distance.
  2. Encourage your care recipient to help: Even if your loved one needs assistance, involving them in daily tasks can give them a sense of purpose and independence.
  3. Contact a local elder law attorney: An elder law attorney can provide valuable guidance on available services and resources in your area.
  4. Find a local caregiver support group: Connecting with other caregivers who understand your journey can provide practical and emotional support.
  5. Get organized: Utilize smartphone apps and other tools to keep important documents and information accessible.
  6. Complete home care paperwork: Prepare for unforeseen circumstances by filling out paperwork for local home care services.
  7. Include technology in the care team: Explore technology solutions to streamline caregiving tasks and communication.
  8. Understand when to involve hospice: Hospice care can provide additional support for the caregiver and the care recipient.
  9. Appoint a self-care cheerleader: Designate someone to hold you accountable for practicing self-care regularly so you will mitigate caregiver burnout.
  10. Give yourself some grace: Remember that caregiving is a season of life, and it’s okay to prioritize your well-being.

By implementing these strategies, solo caregivers can build a strong support network to help them navigate the challenges of caregiving. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey; resources and people are available to support you every step of the way.

If you’re currently caregiving solo, please reach out and start building your care team today.

Elizabeth Miller hosts the Happy Healthy Podcast and contributes to The Bulb Blog on the Whole Care Network. To learn how Elizabeth shines a light on caregivers, visit her on the Whole Care Network and the Happy Healthy Caregiver website.

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