Caregiving has improved my life in many ways. As we finish up the holiday weekend, I thought it would be helpful to recount some of the skills I’m thankful that caregiving has strengthened for me. These skill sets are varied and in many ways random but melded together to supply a strong support network for each generation of my family.
I now navigate the healthcare system in a different way than I did before. I’ve learned the ins and outs of Medicaid and Social Security. Some of the things I learned include how long to stay in the hospital in order to qualify for rehab/ nursing home. And the best ways to research rehabs. I’ve learned when to push the insurance company and how to ask for a nursing case manager – the key to pushing the health insurer to offer appropriate and necessary health care coverage.
Learning these things about the health insurance system are empowering and directly influence how I coordinate my families’ daily health care. I’m now more proactive in choosing our current healthcare. But now I’m also much clearer on what I will want for my future needs.
Supporting someone in their own home and learning how to install ramps and adapt it for disabilities was another learning process. I know how to do it now but I’ve also decided I won’t stay in a home that’s hard to manage. I’ll go to a retirement community or assisted living while I’m still healthy enough to enjoy it and create a new community.
Knowing that I helped provide the best care possible – whether it was familiar meals, the right type of coffee or the best doctor gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. Helping ease someone’s comfort as they adapt to changing physical and mental abilities is a skill acquired by managing that fine line of goading and supporting.
How to find help with end of life decisions was particularly challenging. This led to learning how to find an elder care attorney. As well as, how to find the right “fit” for everyone involved so it is a successful relationship was another skillset developed. Easing my MIL through the process of decision making regarding financial details required a specific personality that was hard to find. If you’re in the Bay Area, we’ve partnered with Law Offices of Janis A. Carney who can ease anyone through these challenges.
In researching how other folks feel about caregiving, it was interesting to find that most people share my positive feelings about caregiving. A 2014 survey by the National Opinion Researcher Center (NOPC) indicated that 83 percent of caregivers found the experience to be rewarding. So even though we all experience the stress of caregiving, in the long run most of us feel positive about the experience.