Do you ever hear yourself thinking this: “I don’t know what to do so I find that I can’t do anything. It’s like I’m frozen into place!” Here’s the truth; when I was a family caregiver, there were good days and days of struggle. Some days I had things figured out, and days that I thought I had them figured out to find out just how wrong I was.
It is a noble thought that you have full power to avoid adverse events, balance the emotions of your loved ones, and to care for them 24/7 by yourself. I hesitate to say that you can’t because I know many that do, to a point. But the floor will give way at a time that you least expect it. Putting things in place, researching in advance, keeping your own ‘tank’ filled up are all essential in the process of caregiving.
Regardless of what stage your loved one is at health-wise, it’s always good to have a plan in place before it’s critical and you can’t make clear decisions. Have you given thought about the next steps for your loved one?
Are you able to care for them yourself? If so, do you have back up plans if you need them; someone to do grocery shopping for you or a delivery service in your area? Friends or family that would be able to stay with them if necessary so that you can get out?
Have you thought about the possibility of needing in-home care at some point? If so, have you researched local companies/gotten referrals from others?
Have you had conversations with your loved one about their concerns? Hopes, fears, doubts?
Are you keeping track of symptoms, ailments, medications? Our caregiving journal is a great way to track these in one place quickly. https://www.breathingspacesfc.com/shop/
Have you considered medical alert systems? If so, have you researched local companies/gotten referrals from others?
Are there modifications that you may need to make to your home to adjust for your loved one? i.e., grab bars in the shower, removing throw rugs, changing the location of items in cupboards to make them more accessible?
It’s planning that can easily be put off for another day, yet that day can sneak up on you. Then you are in a bit of a frazzle pulling it together. I was talking with a colleague today about remembering having to make decisions for my Mom when she was released from the hospital about a skilled nursing facility and care after that. Who, what, when……it was so frightening. I know you can’t always foresee what may be coming down the line, but the more aware you can make yourself of possibilities and plan, the better.