Over the coming months or years as a caregiver, you will almost certainly experience a wide range of emotions and events. When you think about all the challenges that await you, or even the problems facing you right now, it can all seem intimidating and beyond your control. Depending on your situation, it may be overwhelming when you consider how much time, money, and energy it can take to be a caregiver. The good news is that there are steps you can take to help you meet your caregiving challenges today and in the future.
Identify who can provide help and create your own "support team." Sit down and make a list of any other individuals who could take over some of the tasks you are now doing for your loved one. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Often, people are willing to help but due to shyness or not wanting to appear intrusive, they may not pro-actively volunteer their assistance.
Caregiving can be a trying experience. When you seek someone else's help, it is a sign of both your strength and of how much you care about your loved one's well-being. Siblings might be the most natural people to ask, but there is a chance they may be unwilling or unable to help, especially if they live far away. You could also try asking friends. Close friends of yours as well as friends of your care recipient might be especially helpful when they see that your loved one is in need.
The formation of a support team will ease much of the stress that comes with caregiving. The key is to ask.
Know your own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of your support team. Once you know who can help, you need to determine what tasks you do best and what tasks other members of the support team could better manage.
Some support team examples: Let's say that you are caring for your father and you have little time for extra errands. You know that your brother drives near your father's pharmacy and a grocery store on his way to work. Asking him to regularly pick up dad's prescriptions and groceries would mean one less errand for you.
And while you're at it, why not use that same sibling again? If your brother and father both enjoy sports and your brother could take dad to a game every so often, that would give you a few precious hours to spend on yourself. Or let's say you have a sister who lives too far to physically help you care for your mother. Asking for financial assistance certainly would help. Or perhaps there are some other ways she can contribute. If your sister is web savvy, maybe she can help with researching care options, resources, or on-line assistance in understanding and managing the challenges you are all facing. If she understands finances, she may help with planning and forecasting the care budget. The key is recognizing that there are a lot of people who are willing and able to help - but they may not know how to best assist you or your care recipient. Look for new, creative ways to get support, as even the smallest things can add up to important relief when your caregiver burden is heavy.
Identify the resources that will help the most. Once you know who can help and how they can help, you will want to direct your teammates to the resources they will be using most. The selection of those resources will depend on a couple of factors.
Factor # 1.
What is your loved one's condition? If your care recipient has Parkinson's for example, try seeking out websites, literature, and support groups devoted to individuals with Parkinson's. The more you know about the disease and how it will progress, the better your care will be now and in the future.
Factor # 2.
Your support team will also need backup. Let's go to the previous step where the brother was responsible for dad's prescriptions and groceries. That brother needs to make sure that his responsibilities are always met even if he cannot perform them personally. He should have either a delivery service or another volunteer in place who can help "as needed" as there may come a time when he cannot fulfill his commitment.
On a related note, it is helpful for you, as the primary caregiver, to organize a schedule or calendar of duties like when a particular task should be completed and by whom. Keep a list of your helpers handy with all of their contact information. This will allow you to establish a stress-lowering routine that you, your support team and your loved one can rely on.
These three steps are recommended to serve only as a guide to help you manage your responsibilities as a caregiver. There are no hard and fast rules on such an important life-role as being a caregiver.
Keep in mind, it is these little victories that count the most. Whatever that positive moment is, cherish it.
Caregiving can be hard work and we hope this website and the services offered by CareMore can help you in the days ahead. We also believe that caregiving can be an opportunity, a chance for you and your loved one to develop an even deeper and more loving relationship.
Thanks for visiting. We wish you and your family the very best.