Topic: Helping Those Helping Loved Ones

5 Steps every Caregiver should take:
#1   Start the conversation- Including Medications and names of Physicians. Approach money matters with respect and care. Does your loved one want Hospice should that time come.
#2  Form your team of family, even those out of towns can pitch in. Friends are usually eager to help.    Community members and Faith networks will also help.
#3 Specify each task and when it is to be completed. Make a system for communicating to your team.
#4  Check in to Meal Delivery, Transportation and adult daycare.
#5 Look in to work place benefits like flextime. Make time for exercise, nutrition and sleep. Caring for yourself helps you better care for others.
In 2009 there were 42 million family caregivers.  You may be wary of initiating a conversation with your loved one about sensitive subjects, but sooner is better. Having a plan will help you be prepared during a crisis.
And remember, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF 

I saw this today in a Dr. office and thought it was great.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Helping Those Helping Loved Ones

Great post Lainy!

I would add 
==> keep a log of doctor's appointment dates and what went on
==> make sure your loved one has a health proxy and you understand their wishes
==> Set up a phone tree for giving out information

Just some thoughts...
-Randi-

Survivor of cholangiocarcinoma (2009), thyroid cancer (1999), and breast cancer (1994).

My comments, suggestions, and opinions are based only on my personal experience as a cancer survivor. Please consult a physician for professional guidance.

Re: Helping Those Helping Loved Ones

Great suggestions Randi, girl! They can just look down at yours but I will add it in my computer where I saved it. OK?

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Helping Those Helping Loved Ones

I agree with Lainy and Randy.
Other things that I find help as a caregiver:
*Keep track of those people who offer to help - friends and family - they often want to help but don't know what to do, you can call them and ask them to do something specific like cook a meal or pick up meds at the pharmacy.
*If multiple family members are involved then set up some central clearing house for information such as current med list, important phone numbers and calender with MD appts and such on it - either online or a bulletin board in the home
*I know in Washington we have Area Agency on Aging which provides case management for people who needs services such as meals, transportation, respite services and caregiving resources. They will come out and provide as assessment and referrals for services.
*Most areas (but not all) have some sort of Visiting Nurse program....they offer more than nursing usually....assistance with bathing, therapies and of course the nurse who can do teaching, wound care or any other "skilled care" you would see in the hospital. You ask your doctor or social worker/discharge planner at the hospital.

AND last but not least....don't be afraid to ask for help....that was the one I had to the most trouble with....it doesn't mean you are weak and not able to handle what's going one, it means you are human and overwhelmed with the care.

I am sure there are more and some of it is a repeat, I know Lainy but I live this everyday with work. Caregivers get so overwhelmed before they ask for or get help.

KrisV

Any advice given is based on my experiences and should not be substituted for any medical recommendations. Please speak with your provider before making any changes.

Re: Helping Those Helping Loved Ones

Thanks Kris. I know I was one that didn't ask for help. This is terrible but I didn't think anyone could do what I did! Is that being full of myself or what.
And Teddy had the confidence in me after seeing me in action that he would tell people, Lainy knows what she is doing. He kept forgetting I didn't do, this Board did. Ha Ha

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.