Didn’t See That One Coming!
Cindy & I live out of town a bit – just enough to get a taste of farm life. Recently, a man from out of town was baling hay on the neighboring property. He was trying to beat the rain and was a little less than half done when – the main belt on his hay bailer broke. It was Sunday evening, after hours so there was no running to the farm dealership and getting a new belt. He didn’t have a pivot plan (plan b) in place.
It was just time to just pack it up, regroup and try again tomorrow (or in the case of rain, whenever the hay dries).
When YOUR Belt Breaks
So what do you do when your belt breaks? You are moving along, full speed ahead, to get everything done for Momma. Then you’ve got to rush home and get all of your stuff done.
Then something unexpected happens. It could be something as simple as Mom’s washing machine breaks. Now neither you nor the outside caregivers can do any of the substantial pile of laundry for Mom that accumulates on a daily basis. Between clothing that has to be changed often, bed sheets and other items, it’s a lot. Not earth shattering but you’ve got to make an extra trip there, pick up her laundry, take it to your home and do it – then take it back. And you have to do this until the washing machine is fixed. This is probably several hours every day that you don’t have. Some of your “necessary” daily activities get shoved to the back burner (or don’t get done at all) during this period of time.
OR it could very well have been much more serious. What if Momma fell and broke a hip? This puts the laundry thing into perspective, doesn’t it? Mom may require a week or two hospital stay, then a stint at a rehab facility, then maybe (if she’s lucky) continued rehab back home.
Before the fall things were actually floating along pretty well. You had created a well-oiled “helping Momma stay at home” machine. Just like the unexpected broken belt on our friend’s hay baler – Momma’s broken hip changed everything in an instant. You have come to a point that a pivot is needed in your care plan.
Didn’t See That One Coming!
Back to our hay baler friend – he admitted afterward that the belts on the baler had “about 5,000 bales on them” which was their expected user life. He knew that it was about time. It’s just that when it happened, it was so inconvenient! He was trying to beat a rain and was almost through! Why couldn’t the belts have held up just a few more hours!
Likewise, you don’t have a crystal ball and couldn’t have expected that Mom would have fallen and broken her hip. But if you think about it, this wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. Mom has been unstable on her feet lately. You cringed every time you saw her walk down the hall. You knew there was a possibility that she could fall and knew that if she did, it wouldn’t be good.
The Pivot Plan
When something major happens, like a fall that results in a broken hip or a heart attack that changes the course of care going forward, then it’s time to pivot. You may have been floating along with you providing part of the care and an outside caregiver (or two) to fill in the gaps. Then the unexpected happened. Now you’ve got to make some changes today!
Having a pivot plan in place means that you don’t have to make hasty, emotional decisions on the spur of the moment. You have already thought about this possibility, already have done some research and know in advance what you will do if and when this happens.
Our baler guy had thought about this and knew which dealership that he would tow the baler to for repair when this happens. He knew in advance that when it happened it would be inconvenient and would cost him money, but he knew this was on the radar and was prepared.
If your Mom has stability issues, some of the things to think about may be:
- Is Mom’s home fall-prevention friendly? Does it have rails, grab bars, roll in shower or walk in tubs, doors that will accommodate a wheelchair, ramps and any other necessary items so you can be prepared in advance?
- Have you interviewed non-medical caregivers in your community?
- Have you checked out local Assisted Living facilities and nursing Homes. This is not an option that you want to consider, but it’s better to have looked at these in advance in case this decision eventually has to be made.
- Have you had the fall prevention discussion with Mom’s doctor?
There are others but these things should get you started. Best wishes with making a pivot plan in advance so you will be ready when your “belt breaks”.
We want to be friends!
Ok. That might come off a little fast, considering we barely know each other. However, we fully understand the stress and turmoil that you are facing as Family Caregiver – including personal experiences with burnout.
In our time as caregivers, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge that we desire to pass on. Likewise, we have met many professional caregivers, as well as other family members who were thrust as Family Caregiver. All caregivers have shared the same advice – Join a community! There is nothing more cleansing for our situation than knowing that we are not alone!
We have since created Caregiver Connection. Caregiver Connection is a newsletter that we write personally and send to fellow Caregivers. It is full of tips, tricks, and even professional advice. If you would like to sign up, click the button below.
Please Invite Someone to Our Newsletter
Being an Adult Kid who is helping mom as she is declining can be a scary, frustrating and lonely place lacking stability. You feel like you are solely responsible for solving Mom’s problems while managing yours. Some occasional input and a community to plug into would help, especially when facing burnout! This is a way that all of us can be working together as caregivers!
Many others that you may personally know are having to figure it all out by themselves. Most of them have no community. Please take a minute and do them a favor. Copy this link – help.mom/cc – and send it to them in an email or private message. They can click on it and subscribe to our newsletter for free.
Then they can enjoy weekly tips and encouragement. They no longer have to feel so alone in their family caregiver journey. They will appreciate the favor! Thank you for thinking of them!
Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!