By Pati Bedwell, Elder Care Coordinator
From the time I can remember, in my mind, spring was the time when you threw open the doors and windows of your house to let in fresh air and sunshine. It’s a time to get rid of the clutter of winter and all the dust bunnies that gathered in the corners. It’s a time to give everything the once over to make sure it’s up and running for the season.
As caregivers, we often find ourselves slaves to the daily routine of caregiving and we don’t often give thought to making any changes to our routines. Maybe we should. It works in other areas of our lives. Why wouldn’t it work when it comes to caregiving?
If you’ve been caregiving a while, you know it took a while to find things that worked for you and your loved one. For me, it was a lot easier finding the things that didn’t work – seems like I found them everywhere I turned. However, once I found the groove, that’s where I stayed. And when that didn’t work anymore, I assumed it was disease progressing a little more or maybe it was my loved one failing a little more. Maybe I should have looked at the processes we were using – maybe that’s what needed to be refreshed.
So, how do you go about “spring cleaning” your caregiving? Here’s some tips to help:
Start by paying close attention to your caregiving. Make note of things that are difficult. Have they always been hard? Have changes been made to the processes you’re following? Can changes be made?
Talk with the loved one you’re caring for. When you’re providing hands-on care, ask them if they’re comfortable with what you’re doing. Ask their opinion on how to complete a task. Remember, even if the one you’re caring for has dementia, they can let you know by word or action if what you’re doing works or needs to be changed, so pay attention to them as you go through your tasks.
Talk with other caregivers. Ask them how they handle the situations you’re having trouble with. Maybe they can give you some ideas about changes you can try.
Remember, caregiving is a journey. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. In every good journey, the scenery changes and you adapt to the new surroundings. Caregiving is the same. Things change as conditions change so we, as the caregivers, must adapt, too.
If you have any questions about caring for elderly loved ones, please give our office a call at (615) 824-2571.