Stop Reacting, Start Planning

There’s a lot to respond to and a lot to do when caring for a family member, appointments to keep, meals to prepare and responding to what may be more and more frequent emergencies. It’s easy to stay in the realm of day-to-day tasks and to feel increasingly trapped by the next crisis you have to solve.

While this may be the hardest time to look at the big picture, this is not the time to quote Scarlet O’Hara and say “I’ll think about it tomorrow”. Looking with clear eyes at what may happen in the future may be the only thing protecting you from ultimate caregiver burnout. Taking control is essential.

You feel tired and stressed by ricocheting from one crisis to another.

Other people in your life are starting to express concern for your well being.

Your family life and/or work performance have slipped.

These signs of stress are signals that it’s time to start planning the next step in caring for your relative.

Sit down with family members and brainstorm a list of challenges. What are the problem areas that you facing? Sit down with the relative you are caring for and have a conversation about what’s changed and what they need help with. If your family member has dementia, you may need to work from your own observations.

Here’s a sample list of challenges Mom sometimes mixes up her medication schedule, taking medication at the wrong intervals. I’ve missed five of Sam’s softball games because of Mom needing my help. Bob and I are planning a vacation in July and need to have someone look after Mom while we are away.

I know that identifying your or your family member’s unmet needs can feel overwhelming. Remind yourself that you do NOT need to solve all these problems at once. You do need to start making slow progress toward bringing in other resources to help.

Pick one or two of the top problems that are taking a lot of your time or have a big impact on your family member’s health. Looking at the sample list, I would tackle Mom’s issues managing her medication because she could end up hospitalized or dying by mismanaging her medications.

When working to solve a problem, you can start in a few different places.

  1. Research the topic on the web.
  2. Call your county Area Agency on Aging to request a consultation.
  3. Brainstorm with family and friends about possible solutions.
  4. Consult with your family member’s doctor or an aging specialist.
Build a list of possible solutions and begin to implement them one by one until you find the right fit.

Upcoming San Francisco Bay Area Events

If you live in the San Francisco Bay area, here are couple of events that are coming up in May. No Cost! I'd love to see you at these events.

Thursday, May 19, 7-8 pm
Palo Alto Family YMCA
3412 Ross Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Caring for an Older Adult
Tips and techniques for caring for an aging family member or friend, including an introduction to San Mateo and Santa Clara counties resources

Wednesday, May 25
Atria at Hillsdale
2883 S. Norfolk Street
San Mateo, Ca. 94403
RSVP: (650)378-3000
The Elder Ed Players discuss the complexities of aging. Our Panel will then address legal issues, financial matters, care, cost of care, family communication, family life planning and many other issues.

Is it Time to Discuss Your Eldercare Challenges with an Expert?

Have your caregiving responsibilities left you stressed, angry or feeling guilty?

Do you suspect that your family member needs help and don't know where to start?

Whether you are an experienced caregiver verging on burnout or a new caregiver who is not sure how to help a family member, you can benefit from Eldercare Coaching.

To experience what's it's like to have an expert in your corner providing advice and resources tailored to your unique situation, click here to schedule a no cost 30 minute consultation ($75 value).

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