Caregiving In the Home - A Perspective of Success or Failure?
What is the "weather forecast" concerning your perspective? Is it "Mostly Sunny?" "Partly Cloudy?" "Severe Thunderstorms accompanied by High Winds?"
Caregiving can be a positive thing, not just an obligation to be fulfilled or a job to be done. Life is so daily, so with a positive outlook and an "attitude of gratitude," caring for a loved one can be fulfilling. Does that mean there will be no extra work, no messes to clean up, no time of frustration, no tears, no heartaches, and no incidences of being called mean names or worse? Not necessarily, but let's look at some of the positives that will help in making caregiving a success.
Learn -- Success comes through learning as much as possible about how the aging process and disease conditions affect your loved one physically, mentally, and socially. Continue to learn new skills and keep up with current information and practices. Tap into resources that are available to support learning.
Positive Attitude -- Approach caring for your loved one as important, inspiring, responsible, fulfilling, and showing appreciation rather than a chore to be done begrudgingly.
Quality -- Commitment, genuineness, respect, empathy, responsiveness, and developing trusting relationships are all important factors in meeting the needs of a loved one.
Step-by-step -- Break tasks down into small, manageable steps, with "cueing" and prompting to allow your loved one to be successful and as independent as possible.
Team Player -- Trying to be a "Lone Ranger" caregiver is a no-win situation. Be assertive in asking for help when you need it. Working together with your loved one, family members, health care providers and possibly outside agencies will make things flow more smoothly and will facilitate problem solving as difficulties arise and needs increase.
Problem Solving -- Try the following as a catalyst for resolving difficulties:
o What is the problem?
o What is the antecedent or the cause?
o Brainstorm solutions or improvements
o Choose the best improvement or solution
o Act on the choice or solution
o Assess the outcome -- How has the problem improved or been resolved?
o Is the problem solved or has the situation improved? No? Chose another solution from the brainstorming session and test and evaluate it.
Care for Your Own Well Being -- You will be more capable of caring for a loved one with significant needs if you monitor and act on your own well-being. Be aware of your own stress level and find reasonable and responsible ways of coping.
Observe - Take notice of changes in your loved one and report those observations as needed to their health care provider.
After reviewing and practicing the suggestions mentioned, hopefully you'll be able to say that you have a "Mostly Sunny" outlook on caregiving.