Our Complete Guide to Caregiving Tips

Our Caregiver Guides cover over 25 topics, giving guidance and providing clear, practical instructions for dealing with common caregiving problems. Caregiver Guide

  • Caregiver Guide: Advance Directives

    Sometimes, decisions about medical treatments must be made when the older person is too sick or is unable to express his or her own wishes.

  • Caregiver Guide: Bone Weakness

    As people age, their bones begin to thin and lose strength. Bone thinning is called osteopenia. Severe bone thinning to the point where a person is at a high risk for broken bones (fractures) is called osteoporosis.

  • Caregiver Guide: Breathing Problems

    As people age, certain activities, such as going up a flight of stairs, can make them slightly winded or out of breath. This may be because they are out of condition due to physical inactivity

  • Caregiver Guide: Caregiving

    Caring for an older person at home requires a team of people with different skills and perspectives. Doctors, nurses, social workers, and clergy all make important, specialized contributions, but family members or friends give the day-to-day care.

  • Caregiver Guide: Choosing a Nursing Home

    A nursing home becomes a valuable option when the amount of medical care and nursing attention the older person needs cannot be provided at home.

  • Caregiver Guide: Communication Problems

    Communication problems can be frustrating for the older person and his or her caregiver. The older person may become upset because of not being able to hear or understand what others are saying, or because of having trouble expressing thoughts.

  • Caregiver Guide: Constipation

    Constipation is passage of small amounts of hard, dry bowel movements, usually fewer than three times a week. As a rule, if more than three days pass without a bowel movement (also called stool), the intestinal contents may harden, and a person may have difficulty or even pain during elimination.

  • Caregiver Guide: Dental Problems

    Dental problems are among the most common health problems experienced by older adults. In fact, people over 65 with natural teeth have more tooth decay than any other age group and thus continue to need a yearly visit to the dentist.

  • Caregiver Guide: Depression

    Older people often have life changes that lead to feeling depressed. Some people go through physical changes affecting their eyesight, hearing, or how well they can move. Others have changes in their health that are treated with many medicines. Still others have changes in their ability to think and remember.

  • Caregiver Guide: Diarrhea

    Diarrhea is the passing of three or more loose or watery stools per day, or a definite decrease in consistency and increase in frequency of bowel movements based upon what is usual for the individual.

  • Caregiver Guide: Hearing Problems

    Fifty percent of Americans over 65 suffer from hearing loss, although it is more common in older men than in older women. Problems can be small (missing certain sounds) or large (not hearing at all).

  • Caregiver Guide: Helping with Recovery from Illness

    Taking care of a family member who is recovering from surgery or an illness can be very demanding for both the caregiver and the person who receives care.

  • Caregiver Guide: Incontinence

    Urinary incontinence, or involuntary leaking of urine, is a problem for at least 30% of people over age 60. It is more common in women than in men and can range from occasional dribbling to total loss of bladder control.

  • Caregiver Guide: Memory Problems

    In our busy lives, all of us forget things at one time or another. As we age, this can happen more frequently and can be a natural part of the aging process. 

  • Caregiver Guide: Mobility Problems

    The changes that occur with aging can lead to problems with a person’s ability to move around, or mobility.  Mobility problems may be unsteadiness while walking, difficulty getting in and out of a chair, or falls.

  • Caregiver Guide: Pain

    Some people think that pain is natural with aging. Others may believe that older people are “just complaining” if they are not clear in explaining the cause or nature of their pain.

  • Caregiver Guide: Problems of Daily Living

    Many older people experience problems in daily living because of chronic illnesses or health-related disabilities. Those difficulties restrict their ability to perform self-care. 

  • Caregiver Guide: Skin Problems

    Wrinkles and age spots are normal skin conditions that occur as a person ages. These are natural processes. Nevertheless, some elderly people can develop skin disorders that give rise to serious medical problems.

  • Caregiver Guide: Sleep Problems

    People of all ages can have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or have poor quality sleep (insomnia). There are many possible causes including stress, changes in schedule, diet, or as a side effect of medicines.

  • Caregiver Guide: Using Medicines Safely

    People age 65 and over buy more than 30 percent of all prescription medicines and 40 percent of all nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines sold in this country.

  • Caregiver Guide: Vision Problems

    Growing older does not always lead to poor vision. However, age can bring about changes that might affect the eyes and vision.