The world of caregiving requires planning and problem-solving 365 days. There are no shortcuts to holistic and compassionate care. The daily grind must be organized while expecting the unexpected. Your role as a caregiver is valuable. You help loved ones live their best lives. Being responsible for the care of another individual should never be taken lightly. Caregiver reality is documented in research that without organization, the level of stress, burnout, and physical illnesses increase. Being an efficient caregiver requires preparation strategies for problem-solving. Having an organized attitude sets the tone for a successful caregiving experience. Notice I did not say an uneventful caregiving experience. Success, only means, that you got to the end of a day where your loved one is safe and sound and you, the caregiver, is at peace with the day’s events.
Many of my conversations are from personal experience of the 20-year journey. I was up close and personal with the day-to-day reality of the responsibilities. My lived experiences, I believed, are to help others. However, I do realize one size does not fit all. I do feel that much of my success was based on what I knew as a professional nurse and hands-on personal involvement. I learned to have a plan each day with flexibility. I made lists at the end of the day. This allowed me to anticipate what was needed the following day. If I had a self-care day, I contacted my support help(family or friends) that offered to step in as needed. I made medical appointments ahead of time and I let other family members know about them. I took breaks! I napped when mommy napped. You are no good to anyone if you are fatigued. This is an unsafe place to be and is a recipe for errors, burnout, and abusive behaviors. As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, it is important to start by taking care of yourself, and having a mindset of self-care, and a plan. Do not feel guilty about starting your day by taking care of yourself. Having a positive attitude toward caregiving will go a long way. And…one more thing…Ask for assistance before you become exhausted! Be safe! Be well!