Tips for Family Caregivers to Get a Fresh Perspective (2016)
By Paula Erwin-Toth
Now that we are fully into Fall, parents and their children are working on establishing new routines, reinforcing good habits and addressing ways to improve their daily routines. It is a great time for all of us to take a step back and examine what we do, how (and why) we do it, and whether we can improve. This is important for everyone but especially critical for family caregivers.
Many of you are not only taking care of your loved ones but also balancing work and being a parent. This situation is commonly known as being part of the “Sandwich Generation”. A friend of mine who is in this situation right now says it feels more like a grilled panini instead of a regular sandwich. “Feeling the burn on both sides and being squeezed in the middle,” is how she describes it.
First, Take a Step Back
What can you do to best cope with this situation and avoid feeling that burn? Try taking a step back and looking at the big picture. It is easy to focus on just getting through the day and miss where you are headed and what you hope and need to accomplish.
Then, Get Perspective
Making lists can be a great way to get perspective. Where to begin can vary; are you the type of person that looks at the big picture first and then at the details, or do you prefer to address the details first and then progress to the big issues? Let’s say your widowed mother is moving in with you and your family. You and your spouse both work full time and have three children, one in middle school, one in high school, and another in college. Your mom has trouble getting around and is having problems with incontinence. There is so much going on, where do you begin?
The “Big Picture” Person
If you are a “big picture person” you may want to start by mapping out the overall plan:
- What are your goals and expectations?
- What are your family’s and mom’s goals and expectations?
- Is this a temporary situation or more permanent?
- What do your mom’s doctor and other health care team members have to say? What are their goals, recommended treatments and expectations for your mom and you?
And then, dive into the details, based on this overall plan.
For the Detail Person
If you are a detail person, you may feel the need to map out the specifics before you are ready to look at the big picture, for example:
- What equipment and supplies will your mom be needing?
- Do you need to make any adjustments on your home?
- Is there a home health nurse or social worker who can help figure out what items are covered by insurance and what are out of pocket expenses?
After listing all these details, categorize them and check whether you’ve come up with answers to the bigger issues while you were mapping out the details.
A Little Help for the Caregiver
Both big picture and detail focused family caregivers need to address all the issues they will have to manage when they take on the role of family caregiver, which can be very challenging. That’s why Welmedix is dedicated to providing state of the art skin care products for loved ones with fragile skin from disease, incontinence and/or immobility and provide education and support for family caregivers to help make caregiving a little bit easier.