Caregiving is a lot of responsibility.  “Stronger together” is a reminder that you are not alone and should not expect to be a lone wolf caregiver. The best time to recruit help is in the planning stage. Once you are doing so much on your own, you forget that there is help because you have done it for so long, you start to believe you can do it all. You can’t! I tried it, and it isn’t a good practice. Caregiving can be a 24/7 job, and no one should try and do it alone.

Family Meeting

Even this meeting requires a plan. Some family members could feel overwhelmed with their schedules and don’t feel they can take on more. Everyone needs to be involved.

Consider whether you may want a moderator, someone who is neutral and can ensure everyone’s voice will be heard. This person can be clergy or a close friend of the family, possibly a social worker from the hospital or other professional. It should be someone everyone trusts.

Ask everyone involved to think about what a positive outcome would look like to them. What concerns do they have, and how do they think it is best t design the plan.

One meeting may not solve all the problems because we all come away in a few days wishing we had asked something we hadn’t thought about at the initial meeting. Be flexible and leave a door open with your moderator to address any questions that arise later. Plus, caregiving needs will change as time passes.

The solution doesn’t have to be fair or equal. Some family members may have more time or more capacity to help than others. Location is a significant factor. Each must understand that everyone else is contributing and appreciate it. It may be essential to fill out a worksheet to clarify who does which task.

Task                                                                    Who Does It

__________________________________________________

Paying bills/ finances                                                Name

Scheduling and transporting to doctor’s appt.           Name

Keeping info organized and all informed                   Name

Insurance—talking to agents and followup

On claims and denials                                                Name

Hands-on care or overseeing an in-home

Caregiver                                                                    Name

 

The above is a way to get started. Still, in talking to your moderator, there may be things you may want to add to this list. Such items will check into homecare equipment or other aids or call utility companies to be sure they know you have life-saving equipment that depends on electricity even when there is an outage. Brainstorming ideas may help the family to feel they are working together for the best outcome.

Next time we will talk about personality differences that can work for the greater good.