A MSW (Institute of Mental Health)
& Rotary Club of Northam Initiative

Caregiving Guidelines

Managing your Loved One's Illness Effectively

Effective and Constructive Communication Tips

Managing Non-Communication Behaviours

Managing Relapses and Crises

Caregiving Guidelines

Caring for your loved one can be very challenging as you adjust to understanding his perception and expression of thoughts and feelings. You also need to find new ways to help him and yourself maintain mental and physical wellness. Simple and practical tips on how you can successfully care for your loved one are :

1. Keep a positive or neutral attitude 7. Avoid making all the decisions for your loved one
Caring to support your loved one's recovery requires a positive attitude. Maintain a positive attitude even during setbacks. Offer to help your loved one choose whnever he needs to make a decision. Avoid making decisions for him, as he may perceive you as being controlling.
2. Communicate simply and positively 8. Encourage independence
Speak simply, calmly, and positively. Have good eye contact and a pleasant facial expression. Remember, nagging is unhelpful. As your loved one's symptoms improve, provide more opportunities for him to care for himself.
3. Have realistic expectations of your loved one 9. Respect his personal space
Evaluate your expectations of your loved one. Accept him as he is now, while you observe for progress. This will help you set realistic expectations. Give him space and time to do his own things and make his own decisions.
4. Help your loved one carry on with life as usual 10. Discuss limits/rules for living at home
Establish a new daily living schedule and re-establish family routine as quickly as possible. Encourage him to plan an enjoyable ‘out-of-home’ activity at least 1-2 times weekly. Agree on what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Set clear limits. Take it easy with the ‘not-so-important” things, such as a slightly untidy room or waking up late. You can work on such behaviour once his mental state and motivation improves.
5. Focus on the positives 11. Do not tolerate physical and/or verbal violence
Encourage your loved one by focusing on his strengths. This will improve his self-confidence and will motivate him to work on his ‘not-so-strong’ points. Tell your loved one calmly that such behaviour is not acceptable. Report any acts of violence to your loved one’s professional caregiver or the police if physical violence occurs. Tolerating violence will encourage it to occur more often.
6. Be sensitive and avoid comparisons 12 Regularly participate in fun activities with your loved one
Focus on your loved one’s progress and avoid comparisons with other people. Also avoid criticising. Having an enjoyable time together not relating to responsibilities is a good way of building a positive relationship. It's good for everyone.