Some feel that caring for others comes naturally and is believed to instinctual. However, if the time comes that you are faced with the need to provide care for another person or manage a caring situation for yourself, it will take more than natural instincts. A recent report showed there are over 43 million adults in a caring role (AARP/NAC, 2015). Caring doesn’t just involve helping with bathing, dressing, meals, medicine, etc. It involves other activities. Here are some other types of activities that adults have to do for an aging parent, disabled child, or injured loved one.
· Coordinating with health professionals
· Advocating with providers, services, and agencies
· Monitoring of health condition
In the same report it stated that on average 20 hours or more were used each week towards caregiving. If you work, you can easily see how caring for yourself and others may pose an issue. If you are a parents you understand the shift your like took when you started to take care of new baby. Caring for an adult is different. Newborns and develop then start to do things for themselves. If you are caring for an adult with a chronic condition, chances are the development of the condition will get worse and doesn’t go away over time, In fact, it may become more demanding. Caregivers are constantly managing shifts in care from the result of the condition getting worse or the caregiver may actually have change or a life event. Some examples would be having a child born or change in job status.
I have been a working caregiver for over a decade now. While caregiving I completed my graduate degree, had my first child, move interstate, and had work promotions. I thought to myself recently how in the world did I manage? Looking back there were three key actions that I did always. The three key actions were….
Assess Adjust Create a System
Seems simple, right? Not necessarily.
Assessing involves you having all the information that you need to make an informed decision. That could be medical information, financial information, or even available resources. You have to gather information and that could take some time. If you don't have the time recruit help.
Adjusting: Once you have the information you can make a decision and adjust. This may involve others as well as time to implement. It can happen as long as you have a plan.
Create a system: Creating a system could be easy but what I have found is it may involve changing habits and restructuring current systems. An example would be cooking extra to make meals for someone each week. Another example could be moving a person your home either permanently or temporarily. Depending on the situation that can be a small or major process.
Are you a caregiver that can relate? Do you know someone who has had to do this? What can you share on how to manage care shifts?