Show of hands: how many of your caregivers out there thought helping with the care of a loved one would be relatively simple, just a matter of coordinating a few things? And how many of you who thought that now feel overwhelmed?
Most of us start out that way, don’t we? We think it’s “just caregiving” or that it will “just take a little time,” but before long, the job is consuming so many of our waking hours that we scarcely have time for anything else, including immediate family, work, friends and all the activities that we enjoy.
Here’s a list of caregiving topics that need your careful and honest consideration. Don’t make assumptions. Find out what realistically can be expected:
1) Duration—Is taking care of grandma going to be for a few months or a few years? What is her overall health like? The overall health picture is your best guide to duration.
2) Financial cost—What is grandma’s financial status? If she’s running out of funds, who’s going to pay for her care?
3) Cost to career—If you take a year or more out of your career, will you be able to resume where you left off when you are able to return?
4) Cost to “other” family life—How do your spouse and children feel about your new duties? Are they willing to play second fiddle while you give your primary time and attention to grandma?
5) Skill set required—What will you be expected to know, and what tasks will you be expected to perform? Are you prepared and able to provide medical treatment by giving injections, changing dressings, taking blood pressure, etc.?
6) Amount of help you’ll need—Assess the amount of work to be done and then ask yourself how much of it you can do on your own, and how much you’ll need help with. Once you’ve got that figured out, ask yourself where that help is going to come from.
7) Time—How many hours, every day, will taking care of grandma require? Two hours, four hours, twenty-four hours? Look at your existing schedule and then see where and how you will fit in this new demand on your time. Be sure to program in time for self-care for yourself—at least an hour a day—along with caregiving and all your other responsibilities.
This is an intimidating list, to be sure. My purpose is not to keep you from taking the caregiving assignment, but to help you accept it with the knowledge of how you can best do it. Grandma needs care and you love her and want to provide it. That’s a great start. But be sure that you know what’s behind the door marked “caregiving” when you decide to walk through it. Where there are places on this list that you can’t provide the time/resources/knowledge needed, then devise a plan to fill in the gaps so that you can move ahead.
Caregiving is not a task that we should take lightly. It can be quite frustrating, but at the same time quite rewarding. Dedication is always a good way to help you reach your goal, and help you stay focus on your tasks. This was helpful.
Great post! Whether a person is a professional caregiver or caring for his/her own loved ones, he/she is susceptible to caregiver stress and burnout. Care-giving can be a very rewarding experience. It gives the opportunity to truly impact and improve the quality of life for someone else. When seniors no longer wish to live alone either independent living NJ communities or hiring a personal caregiver is the best suited options.
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