A reader recently asked about the duties of a Family Caregiver. The traditional meaning of the word “duty” implies obligation to someone. My thought, in that case, would be that a Family Caregiver would have no “duties”. Everything that most Family Caregivers do is done because of their deep love for the person for whom they are providing care. Most Family Caregivers are “in it” for love and definitely not for money.
Not Something That Just Anyone Would “Sign Up” for
Serving as a Family Caregiver is a tough job that you received mostly because of who you are – a spouse or a child of a declining Senior. You love this person with every fiber of your being. Daily, you strive to do everything possible to make their life just a little easier. However, just the thought of knowing that even though you are giving it your all, your Loved One is still visibly declining right before your eyes, is not something that most people would sign up for. To be an effective Family Caregiver, you must be loving, tough, very focused, and follow a carefully crafted plan.
Necessities of a Carefully Crafted Plan
It’s important to have a carefully crafted plan so that you can just “fit it all in”. You have assumed the daunting task of being a Family Caregiver for your parent. Thus, you are doing everything possible to provide for their care. You are doing your best to fit your caregiving tasks in among other daily necessities. “Family Caregiver” comes in addition to working your 40 hour per week job. Also, you try to spend just a little time with your own spouse and children.
Your FREE Carefully Crafted Plan Tip Sheet will help you organize your hectic life so you can breathe.
Given what you already have to do, it’s useful to think “reframe” this topic from “duties” of a Family Caregiver (implying sense of obligation) to Priorities of a Family Caregiver. Looking at it this way, helps you best plan your time so that you get the most important tasks done while you are with your loved One, but still have the time left in the day to tend to the other necessities of your life mentioned above.
Planning Parameters of Family Caregivers
There are many details necessary to create a Carefully Crafted Plan, click on this link to download your Carefully Crafted Plan Tip Sheet – but here are a few broad planning parameters to help lay your planning framework.
Keep a Journal
Start keeping a Journal of the things that you do each day. Also include the things that you perceive that need to be done. This will give a clear picture in your mind about the tasks that your Loved One most needs help with. Now you can focus your energies on what is most important during your time with them.
Having a list will also help you pass specific directions along to substitute caregivers. Your Loved One may begin to need more care during the day while you are working. It is very useful to have specific instructions for several caregiving tasks. This way, no major mistakes are made and no major tasks are overlooked.
Rally the troops (if there are any troops to rally)
Realize that being the Family Caregiver is a big job that takes a lot of time. Also be aware of the incrementally more time required as your Loved One further declines. It is important to have a Family Meeting just as soon as you sense that your Loved One needs help. We understand that not all family members are supportive or are willing to help. However, we have some good tips to help get siblings involved, even if they are in remote locations. Check out our blog post entitled “Family Meeting with Momma“. Granted, it’s easier said than done in some instances, but it’s worth the effort. Sometimes, even if siblings are reluctant, they may do specific tasks, which helps aundantly.
Remember the big picture – it’s all about Momma.
Don’t get so caught up in the daily tasks that you forget your main job is to provide love, support, care and understanding to a declining parent. They desperately need your presence and love more now than ever.
Achieving the best results for your parent(s) or declining spouse – while (simultaneously) being able to effectively take care of the major priorities in your own life – takes some careful planning.
Click here to download your Carefully Crafted Plan Tip Sheet. With some work and planning on your part, you will be able to craft a Plan that will allow you to become a more effective Family Caregiver, employee, spouse and parent.
We’ll talk more about this planning technique in our next blog post. Until then, best wishes with becoming an even more effective Family Caregiver for your Loved One.
AND For More detailed and step-by-step tips and tools, visit our membership site at www.caregiversupportacademy.com.