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home | Getting Started | Caregivers Top 7 Reality Checklist

Caregiver's Top 7 Reality Checklist
Alicia Golden-Herrera

This Amazing List Can Mean The Difference Between Coping Or Sinking At Caring For Your Parent Full Time

1)  Expect to have issues relating to your parents' prescriptions, medical condition, physicians, insurance and finances.

These things are at the top of the list for a reason. Every time you turn around, there will be something else to deal with relating to one or more of these items.

You'd Think There Would Be A Better Way

In the midst of your frustration, you're going to be asking yourself, "When are these companies, doctors—heck, the entire healthcare system--going to make this easier for us?"

And you'd be justified in thinking those thoughts.

There really should be improved or efficient systems in place; qualified, knowledgeable staff always available; more accountability, and such. But the reality is more often than not, these things are rare.

A Work In Progress

In the course of your caregiving day, you may need to make phone calls or make appointments to meet directly with certain people, in order to straighten out one or more of these issues.

Consider these things as "under construction" and you will save yourself a lot of headache and frustration.

2)  Expect to spend more on cleaning supplies.

Will you need more and different types of cleansers? Yes. Both the personal care type products and the home cleaning products are up for an increase.

One thing you can do to help your budget is to shop at dollar stores. You can find them at locations most anywhere. Some of these even have grocery sections with produce and refrigerated goods. With this combo, you can save on the cleaning supplies AND your groceries at the same time. Now that's a deal!

3)  Expect Your Parent To Have Mood Swings, Personality Changes and Memory Issues.

These are some of the hardest things to deal with, because each behavior is inconsistent.

What do I mean by that? I mean that your parent may be one way this time and another way the next. Something that made them happy today, they may hate tomorrow or the next moment.

And if you give them a direction-such as asking them to fold a small pile of clothes—you could find them sitting idle and doing nothing right after you just told them. Forgetfulness is sometimes just that immediate.

I don't think I'll ever get used to that.

4)  Expect To Do More Laundry.

You'll need a washing machine that's in great working order, because you'll be doing a lot more laundry.

There's no Leave It To Beaver sweet routine number of laundry loads per week, either. Some weeks will go better than others. Just so you know.

5)  Expect To Wash Your Hands More Frequently Each Day.

The infection control people—they're the ones at hospitals that monitor the whole germ thing; and they teach others about the importance of washing your hands often—need help in getting out this important message.

You go about your day and probably rarely think about hand washing.

Hand Washing Helps Prevent The Spreading Of Germs

Germs spread illness and all that can make otherwise healthy people sick.

You may be surprised to know just how much hand washing can reduce the spreading of germs.

And when you consider that everything you touch has been handled by someone or many others, you can see how germs can reach across all boundaries and affect everyone.

Have you heard at least one story about the hospital patient whose illness worsened while in there?

Or worse... What about the patient who had a hospital stay and became ill with something they didn't have when they went in?

So the lesson here: Wash your hands often. The last thing in the world you need is to have you or your family members "catch something."

6)  Expect To Have Certain Things Take Longer To Do.

Typically, our elder parents move slower than they used to.

They often don't feel their best.

And to top it off, they can't think as sharply as they did when their brains were vigorous working machines.

You may as well add several minutes to every task you expect to accomplish. This will also help you create a more realistic expectation of what you can include in a daily schedule.

7)  Expect The Unexpected.

Okay, this one is a catch-all, for sure.

Anything and everything that doesn't fall into any of the other points will go here.

You may be about to leave for church, and suddenly you can't go yet because you have to take your parent to the restroom right away.

Or maybe you just tucked in your parent for the night and you start to get your rare moment to yourself when you hear a call for help. Your parent thought they were alone and want to be re-assured that someone is there close-by.

And any number of other scenarios. And so goes the life of a caregiver.

7-Tip Wrap-Up

If you want to know how to handle your caregiving role with more success, the key is to start by having realistic expectations.

This brief outline of the seven most notable expectations, can get you closer to your goal.

Realize that when it comes to handling all of the top concerns, such as your parent's physical and emotional conditions; their social skills, moods and personality inconsistencies, your awareness is essential.

Yes the healthcare system, and the other organizations and providers mentioned here have room for improvement. What system doesn't? But with a little knowledge like what you've found here on this list, you'll be better prepared to face and deal with these and other issues that cross your path.

Caring for your parent is important work, and it requires a big time commitment.

It takes a lot of time and work to handle the wide array of issues, such as washing more laundry, dealing with mood switches, memory loss and all of the issues mentioned here.

And while you cannot change your circumstances, seeing things as they truly are can help you be prepared. You can overcome!

So use this smart checklist as your road map, and you'll be closer to achieving true caregiving success.


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