Caregiving Tip #1 is the first in my Thursday posts devoted to practical information on care-giving.
I may not be an expert by definition but experienced is another definition completely. With decades of care-giving every day, often in my home, I learned a lot about the joys, the challenges and the frustrations of juggling home, children, marriage and relatives needing help. No, I am not superwoman either.
The first step is to be honest with yourself and the situation of your own life.
Before you take on another person to care for, look at the load you are currently carrying. For a short term care-giving situation, your decision on how, when and where may not be the same answer as it would be for a long term commitment. In home care is a 24/7 lifestyle for you and your family. Your career, your friends, your social life will change with every decision you make.
Most importantly, thinking before you leap heads off a number of issues before they can become problems. Friends may offer advice and the perfect answers. Maybe they are the right answers for you. Equally, maybe not. If there is a one size fits all solution, I didn’t find one. Neither did the many caregivers I have known. Mistakes are a fact of every life even a caregiving one.
Discuss the changes that will come with any family members in the household with you.
If you are not caring for someone in your home, you will be visiting or caring for them off site. That is time consuming in traveling to and from, in the time spent either visiting or actually doing tasks for someone. That means time taken from others, your family, your social life, your career. Long term or short, you will find adjustments must be made. After all, so far, science hasn’t come up with a clone for each of us to store in a closet for those moments when we need to be in three places at once.
In short, being honest with yourself will help you make the best decision for you, your family, and the one for whom you are caring.
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