Whether it’s your dad showing mild signs of dementia, your mother recovering from breast cancer, your spouse and you planning on a family or your grandmother who recently got her knees replaced, you realise that you are now a caregiver in the family, even if you are not present physically with any one of them. And you have a million questions. Where do you start?
One thing that does help is to have a plan. The reasons below are meant to be road maps to help you navigate your caregiving journey and understand your options. You’ll become familiar with the various types of care that can support and assist you and your loved one, figure out what best suits your needs and know the right questions to ask.
So, lets start:
- A caregiver is not a maid, a housekeeper or your local man friday.
Dealing with a care receiver is a matter of patience, kindness and lots of love. None of the professions above are trained to be anything remotely associated with caregiving. They might try to stick in due to financial or emotional reasons but they can never cope up with the sometimes incessant demands of a care receiver. Briefings about medication, nutrition, exercise and constant emotional support is usually missing in these cases.
- A care receiver will never accept that they need official care.
Our culture and society looks down upon professional caregiving. It is either an example of too-busy-to-fend for family or the too-much-money kinds. The truth however is more simpler. Old people of the previous generation do not like to spend money over themselves. They believe in leaving behind enough for their children and grandchildren and even great grand children rather than spending a bit extra on themselves. A working mother on a maternity break even today will make do with her family or in laws help than spending a month`s salary on professional caregivers.
- You cannot be everywhere.
No matter how much you try, you can`t wake up, fix breakfast for your family, go to work or cater to your house all the while juggling between being a full time caregiver and a critical family resource. People caring for a spouse, child or parent spend many hours in providing care performing tasks and often find themselves lacking necessary resources to meet the needs of a care receiver. Many caregivers also report signs of psychological or emotional burn out.
- You earn for this and it is ok to part with some of it.
What are the chances that once old you will sail through smoothly through your silver years without a care in the world. In all likelihood our generation might require even more skilled caregivers given the levels of stress and discontentment in our own lives. We must acknowledge that we earn for this very purpose and parting with our money for a loved one is the only way we can make it valuable.
- A semi trained caregiver is better than no caregiver.
Palliative and hospice caregiving requires specialised trained and skilled staff. But for the majority of us, caregiving includes companionship, hygiene, medication, grooming and light housekeeping. A semi trained caregiver with experience in handling senior or infants is emotionally wired to adapt to a family’s demands and routine. Besides nature and hygiene, a few things which are a must for any caregiver can be checked out here.
As a new generation finds itself handsomely employed and having gotten over the frills of overseas holidaying, weekend indulgences and social media commitments, it is time to look homewards. Because as they say “Home is where…the mother is”.