For Consumers

Tips for Caregivers

Collage of women caregiving for other people
Taking care of family and friends is a normal part of every day for most women. It can be fun and rewarding to spend time with those who need you. It can also add stress. From cooking meals to handling doctor visits, caregiving can be tough.
Are you looking for ways to help you with caregiving? You are not alone! FDA has tips to help you manage the care of loved ones. Use these tips to help you talk with your loved ones, other caregivers and health care providers. 



7 Tips for All Caregivers: Be Prepared.

1. Keep a list of medicines for each person you care for. Include over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, vitamins and herbs. Keep this list with you at all times. Bring this list to doctor visits. Remember to ask any questions you may have.
2. Give the right amount of medicine. Ask the healthcare provider how much medicine you should give and when you should give it. Use the measuring cup or device that comes with the medicine.
3. Lock up medicines. Make sure medicines are taken by the person it was meant for. Keep medicines out of reach of children, teens and older adults who can harm themselves.
4. Make food safety a priority. Those you care for may have a higher risk of getting sick from bad food. Ask your doctor if there are certain foods that you should not give to your loved one. Also, remember food safety when preparing meals. Follow four easy rules: clean, separate, cook and chill.
5. Use home medical devices safely. Talk to a doctor about how to safely use medical devices. Ask the doctor to show you and your loved one how to use the device correctly. Also, get the facts about hearing aids.
6. Be prepared for the unexpected. Make a plan for how you will care for your loved one in case of an emergency. Have back up supplies and medical information. Notify your electric company and fire department if you have a medical device that needs power.
7. Take time to care for yourself.  Stay consistent with your own doctor's appointments and well-being.

Caring for Young Children

Parents and guardians have to make a lot of choices about foods, medicines, and other products for their children. Talk to your healthcare provider about what is best for your child.
Caregivers need to know how to choose medicines and use them safely. Read the label to make sure a medicine is correct for your child’s age. Just because a product’s box says that it is intended for children does not mean it is intended for children of all ages. Also, use the dosing cup or other device to make sure you give the right amount of medicine. Do not use a regular kitchen tablespoon to give medicine because you may give too much.

Caring for Teens

Caregiving needs change as children get older. Prepare your child with ways to make safe decisions when away from home. Teens will need to know how to use medicine safely. Start by teaching them how to read medicine labels and take medicines as directed to manage health conditions like asthma and diabetes. Help your teen learn how to care for contact lenses and other medical devices. Finally, be prepared to talk to your child about topics like tobacco and healthy eating.

Caring for Older Adults

Older adults often have more health problems that need daily care. It is important to talk to a doctor about safe medication use. Ask about foods and other products that should be avoided. 

Caring for People with Special Needs

Every person with special needs has different care concerns. Check out these resources to help you overcome common challenges.


Considering Clinical Trials

Clinical trials help researchers learn about how treatments work. People of all ages, racial and ethnic groups, and with a variety of health conditions, should be included. You can help by talking to your doctor about whether participating in a clinical trial is right for you or the person you care for.

Take Time for You and Your Health

When caring for someone else, it is easy to forget your own needs. Remember to take time to care for your own health. Use these tips to help you stay healthy for those who need you.


Page Last Updated: 05/19/2017
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