As a family caregiver, you might be doing just great. But, the unanticipated happens more often than you think. Things fall apart, people get sick, problems pop up. I was talking to a family member today who has been providing care for her father who told me that “this is the most constant stress that I have been under since I was having to arrange child care for my kids”.
You can’t always anticipate the bumps of life, but you can have a plan in place for when they strike.
If you, as the primary care person, got the flu, who would you call? Do you have backup systems on critical issues like setting up medications or doing check-in visits in the evening? If you don’t, let me assure you when you get the flu, or have a car accident or other serious problem, it is the worst time imaginable to figure out your options for providing care.
Just today, a family member of a current client came in looking to modify our caregivers’ schedules to create enough space for her to manage what was going on in her personal life. What we were able to accomplish with a 15-minute conversation gave her a sense of peace. “It is such a relief to have this in place beforehand”. Her parent was not having to get used to new people coming in as he is already happy and comfortable with the staff, and the daughter is able to take care of those things that are demanding her attention without guilt or fear – all because of a little planning.
How to make your back up plan:
First, write out everything that you do to provide for the senior that you are assisting. Be as complete as possible and write each item on a separate line. Include how frequently they need to be done.
Next, scour your connections to see who you would feel comfortable asking to step in to do those tasks. If there is on one, leave those blank.
Last, write how long a task can wait if schedules changed. Can doing laundry wait an extra week?
Your plan might look a little like this:
|Task||Alternate Who||How long it can wait|
|Set up medication in box (weekly)||?||every Monday|
|Laundry (weekly)||Aunt Mary||2 weeks|
|Mow lawn (weekly)||Joe the neighbor||2 weeks|
If you don’t have an answer for who could help today when everything is peachy, don’t count on your future, stressed-out version of yourself to be able to come up with an answer for when things are messy. So, while you are managing well, for now, plan for your future.
The extended plan.
In regards to in-home care, it really is best that your loved one have a relationship with at least one care staff person who can step up if the bottom falls out. Bringing in a caregiver beforehand can help build that relationship and trust.
HopeBridge is a licensed and bonded provider of in-home care. We can provide care from as little as 4 hours a week up to 24 hours a day. And we would be honored to be a part of your care team for your loved one!
The added benefit of having a caregiver agency in place that you can trust, is that you may even be able to take a vacation! Having a break from the consistent pressure of proving care can do wonders to help your outlook.
Make your care plan before you need it; You’ll sleep better for it!