When caregiving starts to feel overwhelming or you start to feel under qualified, it can be easy to get frustrated. Caregiving doesn’t need to confuse, however. We have some helpful advice to help you get on top of your tasks and feel confident and in control. Pretty soon caregiving will be familiar as you and your loved one adjust to changing roles and routines.
- Make a plan and long term strategy. Looking at both the big and small pictures and ensuring that they work together will do a lot to make caregiving manageable and smart. Make a daily task list or calendar to help you remember new routines, such as when medications need to be given, regular doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions, meal times, and more. Also make a long term plan that will help you manage financial resources, avoid senior fraud, and anticipate potential changes in circumstance, such as the need for personal care, memory care, or a long hospital stay.
- Make sure your loved one’s paperwork is in order. Check with the appropriate insurance agent to make sure you know each and every detail of coverage, so that there isn’t an unpleasant surprise when you discover a benefit cap you were unaware of or a gap in coverage that could leave you stuck with an ambulance bill. Consult with a lawyer to ensure any relevant paperwork is in order, such as Do Not Resuscitate orders, living wills, power of attorney, etc. Use those consultations as opportunities to discuss various possibilities with your loved one so that you can together create a plan that is both logistically and emotionally satisfactory.
- Approach your plans and strategies as “the new normal” rather than an awkward change. It can be difficult to transition to a caretaking role or a new phase of caregiving as your loved one’s health needs change, try not to compare the present to the past or to fantasy futures. Live in the moment and think of it as a new kind of normal, rather than an overwhelming change. Perception can do a lot to reduce stress and increase assurance.
By doing what you can up front to make caregiving more manageable, you are attending not only to the day-to-day needs of your loved one but also to their long-term needs. You can also reduce your own anxiety by knowing exactly what to expect and how you want to approach changes in medical condition, ability, finances, and more. Though caregiving can be filled with rapid change even month to month and week to week, planning ahead can make it easier to go with the flow.