It’s happened. You’ve received that phone call you’ve been dreading for years now. Your parent or beloved relative is ill. It’s time for you to help out, fill in, assume the role of the caregiver. You are probably feeling scared, anxious, overwhelmed. Perhaps you are feeling a whole slew of feelings you can’t even name at the moment. Take a deep breath, you CAN do this. Here are three strategies which will lighten your load.
Caregiver Strategy: Take Notes
Take copious notes from the beginning. As a caregiver you may attend many doctor’s appointments with your loved one. You may spend a lot of time in the hospital. You may need to arrange care providers and follow up with doctors. Take note of doctor’s names, contact information and be clear of their role in your parent’s care. Write notes of everything the doctor says during the appointment. Write down the answers to questions you asked. Record keeping will save you lots of phone calls. It will save you from having to ask the same question multiple times. Notes will help create a history of the illness and the care, and that may be very helpful down the line.
Caregiver Strategy: Get Help
To be a successful caregiver, it’s best to clear your schedule and call in the troops. It’s time for back-up. It’s time to lighten your load as much as possible so that you can be an effective caregiver. Let your employer or manager know your situation. Arrange coverage from co-workers on projects and from friends with carpools. This is not the time to be shy – ask for help. Take time to talk to your spouse and friends – discussing a difficult situation may give you emotional relief and comfort. Don’t ignore your to-do list – outsource it. Cancel all the non-essentials and get help where you can.
Caregiver Strategy: Practice Patience
This may be the hardest to do, but the most important. Let’s face it, we all have our quirks, we all have our funny habits, we all have our differences. During difficult, stressful times, these may appear exacerbated. You may hear the same stories told over and over. You may have to explain the medical situation over and over. You will have to wait – a lot most likely. You may experience frustrating discussions. Your patience will be tested, over and over. Take a deep breath, count to five, and try not to say what was on the tip of your tongue. I mean it. Practice this, over and over. Emotions run high in difficult situations, and not just yours. Put aside differences with siblings and team up. Assume good intentions. Love your loved ones. Breathe.
Need more strategies?
The Caregiver is the name of one of the six disorganization types outlined in Declutter and Thrive: Overcoming Six Common Disorganization Types to Reveal Your Best You a book recently published by Denise Allan and Vlasta Hillger. Click here to take the QUIZ or here to BUY THE BOOK on Amazon.