Whether you are preparing in advance for the day you need to fulfill the role of caregiver or you’re finding yourself in a current situation where you are actively caregiving, it’s important to take a moment to collect yourself and prepare for what is to come. Three crucial steps to empowered caregiving include talking it out, getting organized, and practicing self-care. Let’s take a closer look at each of these points:
Talk It Out
I recommend creating a core care team made up of the people who will be involved in the caregiving. These people should include Power of Attorney holders, direct caregivers, and anyone living with the individual being cared for. These types of conversations can be very difficult because the thought of someone we love being vulnerable or dependent on others is hard. It is important to remember to be reasonable and that ultimately this experience isn’t about us as caregivers as much as it is about the individual experiencing the need to be cared for. Start by talking with your loved one about how they wish to experience this phase of their life and try to cover the following questions:
- What is most important to them?
- What are their fears?
- What resources do they have to help fulfill those desires? (Long term care insurance, income, assets, etc.)
- Do they have advanced directives in place?
- Have they talked with their designees about the Advanced Directives and their wishes?
- What insurance policies do they have?
Once you’ve had the conversation mentioned above, it’s important to get organized. It will significantly reduce stress when an event does occur in which you need to access things like documents, insurance information, medication lists, or financial information if it’s all organized and accessible. Here is a list of the main things to keep organized:
- Advanced directives
- Insurance cards/information
- Medication lists
- Physician contact information
- Financial information
It is also good to schedule a meeting with the core care team you’ve created to keep in open communication, talk about changes, talk about how your loved one is doing, etc. Meeting every three months (or more often if there’s something actively going on) will help keep things on track.
If you don’t practice self-care when you are preparing to be a caregiver, it will be very difficult to start once you are a caregiver. You can’t give of yourself if there is nothing of yourself left to give. Make time to relax or do something you enjoy like taking a bath or reading a book, maybe taking a walk or meeting a friend for lunch once a month. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time invested, but it should be quality time that is done doing something that refreshes your soul and lets you breathe a little. Caregiving is a very selfless act full of many ups and downs, both physically and emotionally. For those of you reading this article, know that you are amazing for taking on the role of someone’s caregiver, and never feel guilty or hesitate to ask for help when you need it.
If you would like some guidance and education on how to further prepare for caregiving, a Cariloop Care Coach would love to support you and your family.
Become a member or call 1-844-790-5667 to get started.